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Flickering Tempo

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Arne lingers by the open doorway to the kitchen, dark eyes darting around as he observes the latest stray they somehow managed to acquire out in the twisting cow paths of the godforsaken Danish countryside.

A strange innocence clings to the boy, despite showing up in an incredibly rare and definitely stolen car fitted with a set of poorly made fake plates. They were forced to abandon and torch the lot before the local police came sniffing around—not to mention the two nosy, bumbling old fools Alfred and Carl. After all, no one drives an ancient DeSoto in these parts. No one drives an ancient DeSoto, full stop. But the wide, panicked eyes and babbling English, alongside Torkild’s new found altruism, was enough to convince the men to help the kid out of some convoluted jam with an Albanian banker.

After a week spent sullenly scrutinizing Jack, Arne figures it must be the high flush on the boy’s cheeks, a rosy stain that never quite seems to fade. A lingering blush of youth above the slightest suggestion of facial hair accenting his fine bone structure. It makes him look sickeningly sweet, beautiful, delicate.


Arne swallows thickly, the muscles in his jaw jumping. After a couple jittery half starts, he rakes a hand through his greasy fringe, brushing it aside before flexing and balling his fists. With a he stuffs them into his loose pants pockets. The long column of his spine a rigid, tilted line, shoulders rolled back, he takes a small step inside the loathsome room.

“Hey, Arne,” Jack greets him with a casual, friendly smile that curls his pink lips and crinkles the skin at the corners of his eyes. Flat, white, perfect teeth glint at him across the room. His accent is all wrong, the odd shape of his vowels, hitting each syllable of Arne’s name with an unfamiliar flatness.


A sneer, the faintest reflexive twitching of nose and upper lip, flashes across Arne’s face. Preoccupied with his cooking prep, Jack misses the fleeting reaction.

“I thought you guys were going for a walk?” He asks genially, though out of convention rather than genuine curiosity.

Arne stares, resolutely ignoring the vapid question in favor of fishing out a battered package of cigarettes from his pocket as he rounds the island. Blindly switching on a gas burner, Arne ducks down to light the cigarette while still inspecting the oblivious Jack. Sweeping back his hair with one hand, he sucks in a lungful of tobacco.

An awkward lull follows as he rapidly becomes hypnotized by the way Jack slices through a plump, red apple with a finesse Arne could never possess. The broad knife an extension of himself; seamless, fluid movements despite the dull edge. The quiet, rhythmic thunk of it hitting the cutting board carefully laid out along the counter. It is only when Jack finishes chopping the portion of apple, glancing up to catch Arne staring, that the man snaps back to himself.

“What is this shit?” Arne gestures with his cigarette to the spread. A couple different Danish cookbooks Torkild bought weeks ago sit open around the scattered mess of ingredients.

“It’s my take on an apple pie.” A stray curl falls across his forehead as he resumes cutting the fruit into small cubes to fill some odd pastries he has rolled out on a nearby baking sheet. “Come here,” Jack beckons, that lovely, easy smile lighting up his face.

Shoulders stiff, he restlessly twists back and forth between the empty doorway and Jack. His gaze sweeps over the wonderfully uncomplicated and totally vacant dining room before returning to the fresh-faced young man. The others will be gone for at least another half hour. Shifting his weight from one foot to the other, Arne hesitates. Dozens of warning bells sound off in his head. He brings the cigarette back to his lips.

“I was watching you dice earlier and I thought maybe…” Jack trails off, catching the scowl materializing behind a thick plume of smoke. His cheerful expression falters for a brief flicker before recovering. “It’s all about how you hold the knife, yeah?” He begins babbling, something he seems to do frequently around Arne. “Not too tight but not too loose,” he continues, eyes downcast as he pauses to turn his wrist over and display his own grip. “Sort of like it’s an exten—like a part of you.” Switching up tactics, he starts speaking in small words, aware that Arne’s English remains limited to what he picked up from American action films and pornography. When he looks over to find the same sour look staring back he murmurs a quiet, “never mind.” Silent and deflated, he continues dicing. The once fluid motion now robotic and joyless.

“Then show me.” The stilted request hangs between them, wrung out of Arne by the painful splendor of Jack’s crestfallen face. He over enunciates each halting word, drawing the corners of his mouth back to make the hard lines framing it more prominent.

“O-okay,” Jack stutters, looking over to watch the rigid little hitch in Arne’s step as he closes in on his personal space. Something of a twitchy, prowling predator in each stride. Turning back to his cutting board, Jack pointedly overlooks his sudden nearness. “Remember to always be relaxed when dicing. Tense muscles lead to accidents.”

As he speaks, Arne slides up behind him, peering over his shoulder under the pretense of getting a better view of his handiwork. A cascade of smoke pours from his lips, curling around Jack’s ears and throat, mingling with his own warm breath. The knife hits the wooden board, a sprits of apple juice spattering up his wrist. Arne takes another step closer. Jack stills. He can feel the faint heat radiating off Arne at his back.

“Show me,” Arne repeats softly, close and muddled with smoke.

Rolling his lips into his mouth, Jack nods. Quickly adjusting to their closeness, he resumes dicing the last few slivers of apple with new determination and flare. As soon as he finishes, Jack plops the diced pieces into a large mixing bowl, squeezing a fat wedge of lemon over the fruit. Wiping his hands on a tea towel, he plucks another apple out of the bushel and sets to carefully peeling it.

“I assume you already know how to do this,” Jack teases, tossing a little smirk over his shoulder. Deft fingers rotate the fruit in efficient, careful turns, skinning it in a single curl that settles neatly on the cuttingboard. Arne lets out a faint, stuttering rasp of a laugh at the sight.

Måske du er nyttig.” He mutters, allowing a hint of fondness to seep through his tone. Despite his lack of understanding, Jack beams at the warmth in his voice.

The playful banter numbs his earlier anxieties, conjuring a peculiar ease in Arne. The ability to say anything without the kid understanding a single word grants Arne a strangely unique brand of freedom. Affecting a casualness furthest from reality, Arne leans in to place his hands, covered with smudges of black gun oil and grit, on the edge of the kitchen counter. Each one coming to rest on either side of Jack.

Jack licks a bit of juice from his thumb before cleaning the slick handle off on the nearby tea towel. He swiftly cores and quarters the new apple.

Måske vil jeg beholde dig.”

Slowly, as if not to spook a wild animal, long, clever fingers bridge the gap and settle onto Jack’s hips, one at a time. They spider-walk up his sides. Ticking over the hard line of his pelvic bone to gently frame the slight curve of his waist. Just a light touch of sweaty palms against his sides as Arne pretends to be absorbed in the kid’s demonstration. The web of corded stomach muscles contract and quiver as his breathing becomes shallow before eventually relaxing into the touch without protest.

“Let the knife do most of the work …” Jack dreamily cuts the apple into equal sized sticks.

Bolstered by Jack’s compliance, Arne begins to tentatively tests his boundaries. Pressing into his core before tracing down the hollows of narrow hips, both hands converging on the fly of his jeans. Taking his time to telegraphing his intent, Arne slips the button through the hole. Each tick of the old zipper teeth unlocking knocks against his eardrums, overriding the metrical chopping of the knife. A large, warm hand skims over Jack’s abdomen, exploring, savoring, teasing before the other delves below the elastic of his briefs.

Jack’s breath catches in his throat with a stifled gasp.

Pressing his nose into the nape of his neck, Arne draws in a lungful of his scent. His lips fall open on the exhale, hot and muggy just behind the shell of Jack’s ear. Dirty nails drag through the thatch of wiry, dark hair, snagging and giving it the lightest tug before discovering the base of his cock, encircling it with a firm grip. He smiles into the curve of Jack’s neck when he finds the kid’s already half hard. He gives his side a gentle squeeze.

With a long drag off his cigarette, Arne indulges in taking the time acquainting himself with the heft and weight of him. Pulling down the taut skin, the wide pad of a thumb swipes over the slick head, rubbing along the flared crown to touch the unfamiliar circumcision scar. Fascinated with the piece of marred flesh, he pays it special attention before languidly stroking him to full hardness.

Tucking the band of his briefs below his balls, Arne finally gets a look at the lovely cock pulsing in his hand. Exposed, Jack tries to shuffle back, needing the solid, reassuring weight against his back as he still pretending to care about dicing his apples. The other man moves with him, free hand skittering around to brace against Jack’s lower back to maintain the scant space between them while he continues jerking him off. Any closer and Jack would know just how fast Arne’s heart is hammering in his chest.

He loses dexterity, the methodic chopping deteriorating to barely a crawl. The hand moving over him slows to match the pace. For a few strokes the correlation does not register, a whimper building at the base of Jack’s throat. With a frustrated groan, Jack redoubles his focus, rewarded with a faster glide of Arne’s fist over his cock.

He can feel Arne’s chin burrowing into his shoulder as the other man stares down his body, watching his own fist pump Jack’s cock. Caught up in the delicious feel of him, Arne concedes some ground, chest pressed tight against Jack’s undulating shoulder blades, though their hips remain far apart. A little ash flutters down the front of his shirt. His cheeks, bright pink, exude a delicious, steady heat—positively sweltering in their proximity.

“Oh fuck,” Jack breaths, barely audible over the sound of metal hitting wood. Arne’s free hand, surprisingly reverent, slides back around to soothe over the soft underside of his lower abdomen. The oddly tender caress encouraging Jack to surrender to the wiry body suffusing his every sense. Giving him permission to come undone in his arms.

With a long-suppressed grunt, Arne yanks him back into the cradle of his body. The hard jut of his confined cock digs into the plush curve of the boy’s denim covered ass. He grinds into the thick muscles, imagining what his slick cock gliding between the round globes would look like given the opportunity. The evidence of Arne’s arousal, the knowledge of his effect on the strange, jittery man apparently pushes Jack over the edge.

Knife clattering onto the counter to grip Arne’s forearms, hips thrusting into his tight fist, head tossed back onto the other’s shoulder with a sharp whine. Course whiskers and soft lips brush against his hot cheek in a tactile chiaroscuro. The bundle of muscles and skin flutter beneath Arne’s palm as Jack tips over the edge. A burst of ropey come gushes over the diced apples, the next pulsing over Arne’s fingers, dripping off his fingers and down the back of his hand. With a squeeze, he strokes him one last time before pulling away.

“Ar—” gasps trying to turn around in the circle of Arne’s arms in search of a kiss.

With a rough shove, Arne pushes Jack back into the countertop. Cigarette clamped between his lips, he holds him there. Palm wide and flat against his chest, Arne drinks in the debauched sight of him. Once again, dark eyes dart all over his visage. Glassy eyed, rosy cheeked, lips scattered with indentations from where he bit them, Jack looks like the sweetest sinner Arne has ever laid eyes on.

Panting heavily, Arne pinches a bit of plaid fabric between thumb and forefinger, twisting it around and popping one of the buttons at Jack’s throat. The flush still receding along his breastbone. Practically vibrating with lust and seething repulsion, his hand tightens into a fist, push-pulling at the boy’s shirt.

“Arne…” Jack’s eyes trace a burning path down Arne’s body, landing on the damp spot blossoming at the front of his trouser.

Shutting down, face schooled into a blank, vacant guise, he releases Jack. Hastily wiping his hand off down the front of Jack’s shirt, leaving a tacky smear in his wake. Arne snubs his cigarette out in a chunk of come spattered apple before disappearing.

Tearing through the dining room, kicking over a bucket and mop, he grabs his duffle bag. The guns inside clanking together loudly as he slams the front door shut behind him.