Jesse, Josh Hartnett, Louis Garneau and Bradley James: Meeting Louis' boy
[takes place roughly a week after this]
"I haven't told you much about Josh, have I?" Louis says, tipping one book after another from the shelf before sliding it back into place. Bradley shakes his head and Louis exhales softly. "You might find him curt, almost abrasive, but he is my oldest and best friend and fiercely loyal to those he loves. He's also had an incredibly difficult life despite his money and much of his... demeanour is armour he's developed over time, so I hope you won't let that deter you from giving him a chance." He turns from the books, smiling at Bradley, his boy looking incredibly beautiful in his casual jeans and white shirt. "You'll definitely like his boy though. Jesse. He's done Josh a world of good."
Bradley's eyebrows lift a little at Louis's description of Josh, but by the end he's smiling, walking over to Louis, sliding an arm around his waist to halt his restless motion. "They sound like proper friends," he allows. "I've a fairly thick skin on me, you know. Actor, and all that, I've been dealing with all sorts since I was just a little thing. I won't let him put me off. As long as you promise he doesn't bite, or anything like that."
Louis laughs. "He might," he says. "He's a hardcore sadist." Letting Bradley's embrace calm him. Actually nervous about what Josh and Bradley will think of each other. "But no, I won't let him. Although he has asked if we will play with them. I didn't give him an answer. I thought you might want to meet them first and let me know if you feel comfortable."
Bradley's been at the club, heard Louis talk enough to know that the assumption of play is often automatic. As always, Louis's consideration gives him a warm feeling, and he leans into Louis's body, his smile softening a bit. "Thank you," he murmurs, then glances up to meet Louis's eyes. "He won't mind if I'm not...you know. Like the boys at the club? Not kneeling and silent and 'yes sir, no sir,' do you think?" He's a little anxious about making sure that Louis's dearest friend believes him a good match.
"No, not at all," Louis says, linking their fingers and bringing Bradley's hand to his mouth, a kiss pressed to the knuckles. "He and Jesse are very much 24/7 but he won't expect that from you or us."
"All right then," Bradley sighs with relief, flushing a little at the simple intimacy of the kiss. With a glance at the clock, he turns his hand in Louis's, linking their fingers. "They'll be nearly here. Anything else I should know before they are? Things to avoid bringing up or doing?"
"None that I can think of," Louis says before changing his mind. "Actually, you shouldn't ask Josh about his family. His father's dead and his mother... I hate to say it but he'd be better off if she was as well."
"Oh dear." Bradley's face crumples a bit with sympathy, and he squeezes Louis's hand. "No, I shan't say a word about family unless asked directly, I promise. Thank you, that'd have been awkward."
"I'm sure he'd handle it fine but--" Louis quickly drops the subject, noticing Josh and Jesse in the doorway. "There you are. We weren't sure how long it would take you to get through customs," he says, giving Bradley's hand a quick squeeze before stepping forward to embrace Josh and then Jesse in turn. "Josh, Jesse, this is Bradley. Bradley, this is Josh and Jesse."
"It's a pleasure to finally meet you," Josh says, holding out his hand. Unable to help noticing that Bradley's even better-looking in person.
"A pleasure," Bradley grins and nods, noticing how gorgeous the two men are, reaching for Josh's hand and giving it a firm shake. "Louis talks about you both all the time, I'm so happy to meet you." Not sure if he's to shake hands with Jesse, or talk to him at all, he gives him a little wave and a smile.
Jesse returns Louis's embrace before he turns to Bradley. "It's good to meet you, too," Jesse says, smiling at him.
"Did you see your quarters already?" Louis asks, moving closer to Bradley again, his hand on the small of his boy's back.
Josh shakes his head. "No, we had them take our bags up but we were too eager to see you," he says with a grin. "And this boy of yours." His grin softening as he tells Bradley, "You've been a well-kept secret."
Bradley flushes a little, leaning into Louis's supportive hand. "I, um. I'd really never been anywhere like this. I think Louis was easing me into things, a bit, not just dumping me into the deep end of the pool." He glances up, smiling at Louis with gratitude. "It's a good thing too. It was rather a lot to take in, first time I came here. I'm coming to love it, though, and meeting all of Louis's mates and his coworkers, that's excellent too." He grins at Jesse. "Even better, the ones who've known him for ages."
"Ages?" Josh grins over at Jesse. "I've known this guy since we were kids. I know where all the skeletons are kept," he tells Bradley solemnly, eyes sparkling as he glances at Louis.
Louis gives him a look. One that says the skeletons had better stay right where they are.
Jesse laughs. "I know what you mean," he says, looking at Bradley. "It can be pretty overwhelming to get used to all of this. I used to work for Citadel a couple of years ago, you know? And even with training it took a bit to feel really comfortable with everything."
"You worked here and did the training?" Bradley asks, curious and eager to find out more about the mysterious training program that holds the boys Louis works with when he's here. "You'll have to tell me all about it sometime. I've been here a handful of times now, Louis gave me the grand tour and all. But it must be a lot different, working here and being here every day." He grins up at Louis. "We had something of a vocab issue, when we first started out. There's a different language here, it feels like, sometimes."
Jesse nods. "Sure, we can definitely talk about it. I can remember the first time I was here. It was totally overwhelming and confusing, sort of." He laughs, adding, "But six weeks of training took care of that. I enjoyed working here."
"We should have a seat, while the boys talk," Louis tells Josh, motioning towards the chairs. "I'll have someone bring us coffee or something stronger if you'd like."
"I could use a coffee," Josh says, taking a seat in one of the wingbacks. "But a scotch would be good too."
Bradley leans a hip against the couch, crossing his arms comfortably and nodding with a smile. "That's about it, yeah. Did you meet Josh before you came here? Or once you were already working here?" He wants to ask if Jesse ever trained with Louis, but he figures he'll save that question for once they've known each other a bit longer.
"Oh no, I wasn't working for Citadel anymore when I met Sir," Jesse replies and grins. "I mean, I met him at Citadel but I was working as a photographer in London at the time. I had a Sir when I was studying in New York who later introduced me to Citadel. And it was a good idea. I loved working here but I always wanted to be a photographer and that's why I quit eventually."
Louis calls the front desk and orders coffee, tea, a bottle of Scotch and an assortment of sandwiches and pastries sent up. Surely someone will be hungry at some point. "So, my friend, how have you been?" he asks. "You look good. Maybe not as good as you did when you were travelling but not as tired as you did before."
Josh chuckles. "Thanks," he murmurs, his smile wry. "I've been trying to limit my work hours. Not that I'm always successful." He glances at the boys. "And you? You seem... much more relaxed."
Louis nods. "I am. I'm very happy, and I think it's helps I'm not travelling as much. Learning to delegate more."
"You're a photographer?" Bradley's excited, something even more in common with this boy who he already, instantly likes. "Me too! I mean, amateur, of course. In fact, I met Louis because I was caught trespassing on Citadel grounds, and Security brought me in, and all I was doing was taking nature photos." He laughs, shaking his head, looking over and meeting Louis's eyes for just an instant and feeling that warm connection. "The rest is history, I guess. So you photography professionally now? That's just fantastic. What kinds of things do you shoot?"
"Erotic photography," Jesse replies and grins. "Erotic male photography, to be precise. But I shoot other stuff, too. I sold a couple of the pictures I took while Sir and I were on our vacation."
"You delegate?" Josh laughs.
Louis rolls his eyes. "I said I'm learning."
"Ooooh, the good stuff," Bradley laughs with Jesse. "That's fantastic. If I wasn't so paranoid about pictures getting out to the tabs, I'd hire you to take some of Louis and me. Still might, though we'd have to have all our clothes on, since my mum wants a picture of us." He tips his head towards the two dominants, settled in their chairs across the room. "Think we should join them, make sure they're not plotting something horrid?"
Jesse laughs. "They're always plotting something horrid, whether we're there or not, believe me. And if you really want pictures, I'd love to do that. I have to ask Sir first, though, but I don't think he'd say no."
A uniformed server quietly makes his way into the room, pushing a trolley with their food and drinks on it. He sets it up by the windows, to the side of the chairs and then bows to Louis before just as quietly making his way back out.
"Two fingers?" Louis asks, getting up to pour their drinks.
"Make it three," Josh says, watching Jesse and Bradley while Louis is busy getting their scotches. God they look gorgeous together. Dark and light. "Did you talk to him about playing with us?" he asks bluntly, keeping his voice low, his words for Louis only.
"I'll have to ask Louis as well, but since it's for my mum I can't imagine he'll object." Bradley grins over at Louis, wiggling his fingers in a small wave. He can see Louis pouring drinks, which is always a good sign. And he looks relaxed and happy. "Next thing you know she'll be inviting him back to ours for holidays, and lord knows what'll happen then." He turns back to Jesse, enjoying the other man's easy smile. "I think they are plotting something terrible. Look, they're even pouring scotch. And speaking of that...and back to my original question, what WAS it like being here for training? Was it absolutely mad?"
Jesse nods. "Yes, I think that's a good description for it. I mean, I'd been someone's boy for two years before I joined Citadel and started training but... I don't know. It was almost like I didn't know one thing about being boy. The six weeks of training were really really hard. There was a lot of stuff I hadn't done before and then there's stuff you realize you don't want to do. And kneeling. And crawling. You think you know how to do it until your trainer lets you do it again and again and again." He chuckles, adding, "Nonetheless, I enjoyed it a lot."
Louis nods, handing Josh his drink and clinking them together. "To best friends," he murmurs, taking a sip.
"Best friends," Josh echoes, following suit. "And?"
"He said yes but I think he'd feel more comfortable if he got to know you both a little first."
Josh chuckles. "He looks like he's getting to know Jesse quite well."
"Louis said he didn't mind that I hadn't had formal training, and I suppose I believe him," Bradley muses, gesturing over towards the food and leading Jesse over. He's hungry, after all. "Still, I can't say I don't sometimes think of it. All your practicing making perfect, after all." When he gets to Louis's side he leans in for a quick, playful kiss, and smiles at Josh. "Sorry for stealing Jesse. He's lovely!"
Jesse sinks to his knees next to Josh, smiling up at his sir. "Bradley was wondering whether you and Monsieur Garneau are planning something horrid while we were talking and I said that you'd always do that. Am I right, sir?"
"I don't know if I'd describe it as horrid," Josh laughs, placing his hand on the back of Jesse's neck. "But yes, we were conspiring a little."
"Uh oh," Bradley intones, pretending alarm as he looks between them. "That can't be good. Louis is awfully wicked on his own...give him a co-conspirator and Jesse, I think we'd best run." He's not sure quite what to do. Louis hasn't asked him to kneel, but he doesn't want to be the only one standing. Compromising, he pulls over a low ottoman and sets it by Louis's chair, sitting comfortably and smiling at the obvious devotion between Jesse and Josh.
"Well, maybe devious is a better word for it, sir," Jesse says, grinning up at Josh before he looks over at Bradley. "They're very wicked together, you're right about that. But I don't think we should run. It's the good kind of wicked and devious."
Louis chuckles softly, his hand on Bradley's back. "I'm glad he still feels that way," he tells Josh, "after what we did to him the last time."
Eyes widening at that rather evil chuckle, Bradley decides it's best not to ask. He slides his palm up Louis's calf, instead, finally resting his hand on Louis's knee, feeling like he's closing a circuit. "Louis said you were...24/7?" He glances up at Louis to make sure he got that right, then continues. "Does that mean everyone you know, knows about this? How you are together?"
Jesse groans when Louis mention the last time they were together. "Okay, that thing maybe doesn't count as the good kind of wicked and devious. That was just plain evil. And painful."
Josh laughs at Jesse's groan then responds to Bradley. "No, not at all. It simply means there's never a time when Jesse's not my boy. We don't have any time out of role."
"I'm his slave, actually, although we don't use the words Master and slave. I gave up my safeword and my hard limits when Sir and I made our contract permanent," Jesse adds.
"Oh." Bradley takes that in, and Jesse's confession about the pain, and finally relaxes completely. He can tell these people won't judge his relationship with Louis, not even secretly. In fact, they probably understand it better than he himself even does, yet. He grins up at Louis. "So does the fact that I can't come when you're not there, does that mean we're like that too?" It's partly innocent but partly not.
"No, not quite," Louis says with a smile. "As Josh's slave, Jesse defers to his master on all things, including his work. He's considered Josh's possession. Our arrangement is more... casual and arranged around your career."
Jesse nods. "That's true, I basically need Sir's permission for everything," he says. "Let's say I want to leave the house and go shopping. I'd call Sir or email him and ask if that's okay and I wouldn't go before I have his permission."
"Isn't that hard?" Bradley looks back and forth between them and sees nothing but contentment. "Never mind, you're clearly awfully happy." He leans his shoulder against Louis's thigh, enjoying the closeness, being at his feet like this. "How long have you been together, anyway?"
"Five years," Josh answers, smiling at Jesse. God. It's hard to believe it's been that long. "And we've been married for four."
Jesse smiles up at Josh, his happiness clearly visible. "It's not as hard as it sounds," he replies, looking at Bradley. "Or maybe it doesn't feel that way because I've been doing it for a while now."
Bradley can't help but smile back at the naked happiness so evident with both of them. "And the sex is still good, even though you're married?" he asks, cheeky.
Louis shakes his head but his eyes are sparkling. "Boy."
Josh laughs. "It's okay," he assures Louis, "but I think Jesse had better answer that one." He grins at Jesse. "What do you think? Has our sex life become boring?"
"I can't imagine it ever becoming boring," Jesse says and laughs. "You're way too creative for that, sir."
"Well, that's comforting," Bradley laughs along with Jesse. "I plan to stick around for a good bit, you see, and it'd be terrible to think that sex after too long really DOES become some tedious chore." He runs his hand teasingly along Louis's thigh.
The 'good bit' touches Louis in a way he didn't think possible and he slides his hand over Bradley's, giving it a squeeze. "I'm certain I have enough ideas to keep us busy for at least a few years," he teases back.
"You could always exchange ideas with Sir," Jesse says, grinning up at Louis. "Not that I think you two lack ideas..."
Louis laughs. "Are you sure you would want that?" he asks, exchanging an amused look with Josh. "I would think one of us is bad enough."
"I think the more important question is: does Bradley want that?" Jesse asks and laughs.
Bradley shakes his head in exaggerated horror. "No, no, and no thank you," he laughs as well. "I haven't even begun to see the depths of Louis's creativity. He doesn't need help! He really doesn't!" He leans in against Louis's leg again, comfortable and relaxed, really liking Louis's friends. "And remember, mates, I'm new. Easily frightened, and all that." He winks up at Louis.
"I don't know if I really believe that," Josh says, taking a sip of his scotch. "Not if you can handle Louis." He smiles. "So, tell us more about yourself and this show you're working on."
Bradley smiles down at his hands, proud of his show, but a little hesitant to brag. "I play King Arthur; well, PRINCE Arthur, for now," he starts, and his enthusiasm gets the best of him, and pretty soon his . "It's brilliant. Lots of swords and horses and monsters, you know, all sorts of battles and fantastic magic and things. A few of the other actors are my best mates, which is great since we're more or less living here in France for the shooting." He smiles up at Louis. "And somehow I ended up meeting this bloke, and it got even better."
"Sounds like you have a great time," Jesse says and smiles.
"Yes, it does," Josh agrees, his hand warm and heavy on the back of Jesse's neck. "Do your friends know about you and Louis?"
"They do," Bradley nods. "Well, maybe not all the details, though I've a few close mates who know most of it. But they know we're together, they know I'm ridiculously mad for him." He grins up at Louis again.
Louis grins back. "Which reminds me," he says, glancing over at Josh and Jesse. "We were hoping to have a small collaring ceremony while you're here..."
"Really? That's fantastic," Jesse says, a huge smile on his face. "Congratulations!"
"Thanks. Um." Bradley can't stop grinning, not when he can see the real joy on the faces of Louis's friends, and the happiness on Louis's own. "Thank you. Yeah, it's kind of brilliant."
Josh grins. "How small?"
"Small." Louis takes a sip of his scotch. "Us, the two of you, Marie, a few of the trainers, Bradley's friends."
"No Vince and Adrian?" Josh asks.
Louis shakes his head. "No. I called but Vince is... his work, and Adrian wouldn't be comfortable attending on his own."
Josh nods, quickly changing the subject. "I've been promising Jesse I'd have him branded. Maybe we should do that while we're here."
"Really?" Jesse asks, looking up at Josh. "Wow... that would be fantastic, sir."
Louis smiles. "We don't have anyone here but there's a gentleman in Paris we can fly in," he offers, glancing at Bradley, wondering what his boy is making of this.
Bradley knows that people get branded, he's heard about it and even seen pictures, though they were for fraternities, he thinks, not this. Still, his eyes widen when he hears them all talking about it so casually. Branded. With hot iron. It sounds... painful. And kind of fascinating.
"Can we watch?" he leans up and whispers to Louis.
"That would be great," Josh says, smiling at Louis and then at Jesse, happy to see his boy looking so incredibly happy.
"I assume so," Louis says. "That is what you were thinking, yes? That you would attend our ceremony and we'd attend yours?"
Josh nods. "Exactly. I mean, we could do it at home, just the two of us, and whoever we chose to do the branding, but I think Jesse would like an audience. Wouldn't you?"
Jesse nods. "Yes, I'd love that. I mean, I don't want lots of people there but I definitely want Monsieur Garneau and Bradley attending."
"There you go," Louis says, smiling at Bradley. "We can watch."
Bradley eyes Jesse, and imagines that smooth, lovely skin with hot iron applied. The way it would sear and burn. He shivers a little and leans into Louis's side. "Makes me feel an awful beginner, having a collaring ceremony when you two will be doing a BRANDING," he confesses lightly.
"It shouldn't," Josh says, his fingers a little more firm on the back of Jesse's neck. "A collaring ceremony's a huge deal."
Jesse nods. "Sir's right," he says. "It's huge. And besides, we've been together a lot longer than you two. Sir's got me pierced, tattooed and cut a word into me. The branding really is the icing on the cake. And please remind me I said that once we're doing it," he adds with a laugh.
Louis pulls Bradley closer, kissing the top of his head.
"Where are you going to put it?" Bradley asks, curling into Louis's touch, still wildly curious, and watching Jesse. He seems so serene about all this, where Bradley knows he himself would be bouncing around the room with tension at such a discussion.
"Left bicep," Josh answers. "He has a tattoo on the back of the other shoulder so we don't want them too close."
Jesse nods. "Yes, that's true. I have Sir's initials tattooed on my shoulder and the branding's going to be the infinity symbol." He looks up at Josh and smiles. "We're going to use that, right? Or did you change your mind, sir?"
"No," Josh shakes his head, smiling back. "That's it. Infinity. You and me forever." A quick glance spared at Louis, wondering just how much grief his friend's going to give him for that.
Louis grins and shrugs a little, nodding towards Bradley. Like he's in any place to judge.
"Sounds like a plan, sir," Jesse says, his smile becoming even brighter.
Louis watches them then turns to Bradley, tugging him in closer. "How much notice will you need for your friends?"
"Only a day or so," Bradley assures him, melting into the embrace. It's just so nice to be able to be freely affectionate like this, not worrying about letting anything slip, and he's reveling in it. "It's an hour away by car, so they'll just have to clear it with the shooting schedule, and they can be here. Colin's dying to know you a bit better, and they'll be thrilled to meet your friends, too."
"How much of this do we need to keep away from them?" Louis nods, meaning all of Sarlat, thinking about where best to hold the ceremony.
"They're all completely vanilla?" Josh asks.
"They know, in theory..." Bradley flushes a little pink. "And a few details. They're not totally vanilla, they're both fine with it. And they've both been to Pride, so they've seen a fair bit. As long as there aren't people on the floor with leashes...?" He trails off and glances up at Louis, not sure if there's anywhere a bit secluded at Sarlat, that would keep his friends from getting an eyeful of the more extreme players here.
"What about having it outside?" Josh suggests. "Set up a tent, have it at night, make sure anyone who comes out is dressed and not leashed."
"That's not a bad idea," Louis says. "It's a perfect time of year..."
Thinking about it carefully, Bradley nods. "That...would be rather perfect, actually. Early evening, maybe with some candles and such. And it'll keep my mates from seeing anything they'd rather not, and vice versa." He grins up at Louis. "Sounds gorgeous."
Louis looks at Jesse. "What about you? Would you like to help Bradley arrange things? Make sure they're exactly the way he'd like? I'm sure Marie will be happy to help you both and you know your way around Sarlat."
Jesse nods. "I'd be happy to help anyway I can," he says. "And if you want photos of the ceremony or whatever, I'm happy to provide those, too."
"Photos...that would be BRILLIANT," Bradley enthuses, sitting up straight at the thought. He'd never imagined having shots of the ceremony, but now he wants them, badly. He loves having his picture taken, and with Louis in them too, that's better than he could've imagined. "Thank you, Jesse, definitely, yes."
Louis smiles. "That would be wonderful, Jesse. Thank you. And while the two of you make arrangements for our ceremony, I'll get Josh in touch with our body mod expert in Paris and we'll get him down here by the end of the week."
"I still can't believe I'm dating someone who has a body mod expert on staff, sometimes," Bradley muses out loud, grinning up at Louis. "I'm not much of a planner," he admits to Jesse, leaning on Louis's knee again. "You'll have to walk me through how things are done here, keep me from making a mess of it all."
"I'm sure you'll be doing fine," Jesse says, smiling at Bradley. "But I'm going to help you if I can, don't worry."
"And Marie will help you both," Louis says, assuring Bradley, "You'll be in good hands."
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