Days of Endearment
Copyright December 24, 2006
by Matthew Haldeman-Time
I am writing about men having sex with other men. You must be eighteen or older to read my fiction. This site is for consenting, responsible adults only.
A smile turned up the corners of his mouth as he opened his eyes. Linu. Slipping from the bed, Totoni pulled on a pair of loose white pants, rubbing sleep from his face as he made his way to the kitchen. Linu stood at the counter, stirring together ingredients in a worn, wooden bowl while delicious aromas wafted from the oven. Walking up behind him, Totoni wrapped affectionate arms around his waist, nuzzling the curve of his neck. “How long have you been up?”
“Hours,” Linu said, still stirring but also relaxing back into him. “What would you like for breakfast?”
“I’d like to nibble on your fingers,” Totoni said, kissing his shoulder. “I’d like to taste your lips. I’d like to-”
“I’ll give you plenty of me to nibble on after breakfast,” Linu said, laughing. “Please eat something first, so I don’t hear your stomach growling while I’m enjoying myself.”
It rarely took any real coaxing for Totoni to devour Linu’s food. Scanning the kitchen now, he saw plates piled high with delights. “You’ll let me take this home with me, won’t you?” he asked, taking a pale cookie drizzled in something dark.
“I’ll insist,” Linu said.
After the cookie melted in Totoni’s mouth like a rich pat of butter, he rolled his tongue a bit, tasting almonds. “If you cook like this for the princes, they’re never going to allow you to leave the palace.”
“You like it?” Linu asked, turning to catch his expression.
“It’s the most delicious thing I’ve tasted since the last time I saw you,” Totoni said, licking his lips. “What’s this?” he asked, picking up a rolled pastry filled with cream and topped with red berries.
“We haven’t named it yet,” Linu said. “Most of this is more of what I made at the Ilanosa Festival. It was all very popular, but I thought that I’d try it out on my favorite tester.”
He liked being Linu’s favorite. Licking at the cream, Totoni bit into the treat. Still warm, it flaked into quickly dissolving shards of pastry, his tongue basking in the soft, whipped cream, the berries a sweet yet tart contrast. Cursing around that mouthful, he immediately took another, nodding at Linu.
“I’m glad that you like it,” Linu said with a smile, wiping cream from the corner of Totoni’s mouth with his thumb. “Try the rolls and biscuits behind you while I get the cakes out of the oven.”
His stomach full, his mouth happy, Totoni lounged on the sofa. Linu came over and curled up in his lap, slender and quiet.
They were in the cottage that Linu’s family kept along the river, halfway between the palace and Totoni’s home out along the border. Linu was a gifted chef, and the best way to develop enough of a reputation to open his own restaurant successfully was to work at the palace first. So Linu had moved north, and cooked for the princes.
Totoni had moved east to run the main office of his family’s shipping business in the city of Hesul on the Anorian border. They imported and exported jewels, gemstones, and jewelry. He only saw Linu every few weeks, when they could coordinate their schedules. Occasionally, he could make a brief trip north for a few days, or Linu could come to see him, but the best times were when they both could get away, when Linu could leave the palace and he could escape the office and they could meet each other here, in the cottage by the river, with no demands, no interruptions, nothing but togetherness.
It was the month of Tilidolaru now, the twenty-eight days of endearment, just past the Ilanosa Festival, just before the Festival of the Lovers. It was the perfect time to be with Linu, and Totoni held him close, cherishing the moment.
“Prince Anoremin likes my work,” Linu murmured against his neck, fingers stroking along his collarbone.
“That’s all the recommendation you need,” Totoni said.
“I mentioned to Prince Rini that I’d like to open my own restaurant someday.”
“You did?” That was terrific. “What did he say?”
“He said that he’d patronize it, if I did.”
“Linu!” Totoni pushed him back, to look into his face. “That’s terrific! You’ll have the Seven Siblings in your restaurant! You couldn’t ask for a better - - well, the eighth, but - - what’s wrong?” he asked, frowning. “You aren’t excited. What happened?”
“They all live in Orikodisata. The princes, the advisors, everyone who knows me, everyone important who could patronize me, they’re all in the capital city. I’d have to stay there, near the palace.”
“Linu, it doesn’t matter where you are.” He didn’t like Linu’s thoughts, didn’t want to follow them to their logical conclusion. “Your food is delicious no matter where you cook it. All you have to do is make a few dishes, let people know that you just came from the palace, and watch the customers flow in. You don’t need Prince Anoremin seated at a table to be successful. Besides, Prince Rini travels enough that he’ll show up someday, wherever you are.”
“It’s too soon for plans, anyway,” Linu said, trying to smile, settling back in against him. “I don’t know enough yet.”
Totoni knew that Linu wanted to gain experience, and that the palace kitchen was a great place for that; he also worried that Linu was putting off the next stage on purpose. “Whenever you’re ready, you should do it. Open your restaurant.” He brushed aside Linu’s bangs, gazing into those beloved dark eyes. “It doesn’t matter to me where it is, Linu. It’s only important that you’re happy with it. The rest, we’ll figure out.”
“My food’s too rich for your trendy border folks,” Linu said. “The only thing I hate about visiting you is finding something to eat while I’m there. All of those snobby little restaurants wrinkle their noses at anything that isn’t pure lettuce.”
“That just means that we’re all starving, and we’d trip all over each other rushing to get a seat at one of your tables,” Totoni said. “No matter how snobby we are, we’re not too good to eat what’s served to the pharaoh.”
A pleased, embarrassed smile. “He likes my pastries. Everybody saw him offering them to Queen Anikira at the festival.”
Delighted, Totoni kissed Linu’s glowing cheeks. “You’ve pleased Anosukinom! What else could you want? He doesn’t offer just anything to the queen! How many chefs can say that they’ve ever been that blessed? The fools serving up lettuce and celery only wish that they’d be considered for such an honor.”
“It’s a good sign,” Linu agreed. “The other chefs think that I could have a long, distinguished career ahead of me.”
“You do,” Totoni said. He did see a very accomplished career in Linu’s future. He only wished that he were sure that he saw himself there, too.
Fingers crooking and rubbing right over that perfect little spot, Totoni swallowed Linu’s cock, head bobbing up and down. Licking only teased Linu; suction completed the job, and the stronger it was, the faster and harder Linu came. Sucking fiercely, Totoni stroked in steady rhythm, until Linu was twitching and twisting and crying his name and coming, hips jerking, cum spurting down Totoni’s throat.
Raising his head, Totoni swallowed, licking his lips. He stroked inside a bit, with his fingers, but Linu kicked at him and rolled away, so he grinned and relented, crawling over Linu’s finally sated body. “I have something for you,” he whispered, kissing his way up Linu’s arm.
“You have what for me?” Linu asked, offering his lips for a soft, sweet kiss.
“A present.” He kissed Linu again, luxuriating in Linu’s easy accessibility, knowing that in only a few more days this would be denied him again. “I love you,” he whispered.
“I love you,” Linu promised, stroking his cheek, gazing into his eyes. “I could move to Hesul, I’ll open the restaurant there, I-”
“Don’t, don’t,” Totoni said, kissing his mouth shut, kissing the words back in. “Don’t promise me that, don’t say that. Don’t make that decision now. You don’t have to come to me. Maybe I can come to you, maybe-”
“And who would run the office?” Linu asked. “Who-”
“I don’t know,” Totoni admitted, trying not to let his quiet desperation seep into his tone. “I don’t know, but we don’t have to figure it out now.”
“Okay,” a soft kiss, “okay,” another. “Not now.” Linu’s fingers stroked across his nape. “Later.”
“Later,” he agreed, and took another kiss.
He’d used to buy Linu kitchen utensils, mixing bowls, even ingredients, but now Linu worked at the palace and had access to any amounts of the best materials.
He dealt with jewels all day, every day, but Linu didn’t require fine things. He had given Linu jewelry before, and Linu had admired and valued and worn it, but he wanted to spark Linu’s passion.
So he bought Linu foreign delicacies, foods to which most Anorians didn’t have easy access.
“Oh, oh, Totoni,” Linu said, eyes bright, unpacking the box. “Oh, Totoni,” and Totoni’s lips were gifted with a series of warm, happy kisses. “This looks like poggarri, and this, what is this, what are these called? What is this, it tastes like,” and Linu nibbled off a corner, closing his eyes to concentrate, rolling his tongue. “Chocolate and walnuts, but there’s something underneath it, something that’s almost like…whiskey?”
They spent the rest of the evening tasting, Totoni taking notes as Linu dissected each treat. He also jotted down additional comments as Linu imagined how to improve the desserts and how to adapt them for the royal family’s preferences. Then they had a real dinner, of substantial food completely unlike the expensive, tasteless dishes that Totoni subjected himself to when Linu wasn’t around. Then Totoni cleaned up the kitchen and made love to Linu again, and when he wakened in the morning, Linu was busy in the kitchen, experimenting with Anorian versions of Corcassian favorites.
When the Festival of the Lovers came, Totoni would be back in Hesul, and Linu would be in the palace. But for Totoni, every day that he spent with Linu was a celebration of the truest love of his life.
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