Excerpt: Donal agus Jimmy

“Home with ye, don’t make a scene.” Donal didn’t care to hear his name coupled with a woman’s in marriage, but Jimmy’s full tenor wasn’t suffering much from the beer, aside from the high notes, and his arm lay warm against the back of Donal’s neck.

“Which way? Donal agus Morag…” Jimmy tried again, leaning heavily but letting Donal guide him out the door and down the road. If only this was not the sole reason to put an arm about Jimmy’s waist.

Not the first time he’d walked a gee-eyed friend home, and Jimmy was nice about it, stumbling but giving no sign of hurling. The gardie they met half-way back might have been a problem, but “Since you’re takin’ him home, and that not far,” they didn’t add an arrest for public drunkenness to the evening, and Donal heard a faint echo of “Donal agus Morag…” from behind them.

“Your song’s over,” Donal shushed Jimmy after a trip out back and before the ordeal of the stairs. “Do not vex Mrs. Deegan!” Jimmy quit mid-word. He still needed a bit of help up, and once into their still dark room, he toppled into the bed, so abruptly that he didn’t let go of Donal’s neck, nor could Donal do aught but fall with him, arm trapped.

Jimmy lay quiet as stone, and near as heavy. Donal tried to pull his arm out from under his friend, but two or three tugs convinced him he was stuck fast. It could have been far worse — trapped with his head on Jimmy’s shoulder, he was at least cozy, so cozy he’d tell Jimmy that there was no getting his arm back from under a great lump of a bolloxed gingernut until he’d slept off the beer. How much had Jimmie drunk? Enough to believe the tale Donal would need to explain his hard willie? Perhaps Jimmy’s noticin’ wouldn’t run to that, pressed up against Jimmy’s leg though it was. Donal relaxed to the inevitable best he could, with his free arm over Jimmy’s belly. Oh, but the man was warm. He’d not worn a waistcoat and now Donal’s hand lay under the tweed of Jimmie’s jacket, with only a cotton shirt between them.

Thank the Lord Jimmy didn’t snore. Not that Donal could sleep, all his attention being on Jimmy like that. Not all — he needed some to keep his traitor body from humping against his companion. There’d be no explaining that. Donal hadn’t imagined a worse torment than trying to sleep across the room from Jimmy — now he cursed himself for a short-sighted fool. Quietly and repeatedly.

“If it’s that bad, I’ll let ye up.” Jimmy didn’t sound drunk at all — his murmur was clear and soft. “But I think ye’re fine where ye are.”

“Ye do, do ye?” Donal hissed, his body gone rigid. “What makes ye think I think it’s fine?”

“This.” Jimmy rubbed his leg against Donal’s cock, and the friction, even through two pairs of trousers, was almost enough to undo him. “And it’s yerself ye’re cursing, not me. At least stay while we talk — voices carry.”

The window was open, though it faced to the garden in back. The windows of the houses butted up to either side might be open, too, and who knew what the neighbors might hear if their windows were open to the soft spring night? Donal stayed.

“Ye feigned drunk,” Donal accused him. “Ye let me think ye were well potted.” He had no idea what to do with his hand, and holding his head above Jimmy’s shoulder was getting wearing.

“How else would I get your arm around me?” Damn Jimmy for sounding like the very voice of reason. “But if two pints were enough to tank me, I could not call meself an Irishman.”

In truth, Donal had wondered at three. “The third?”

Jimmy chuckled. “Switched glasses with the man with the bodhrán; better he should drink it than play.”

There was a thing that could not be argued. “But this? Ye want me to…?” Lacking words, Donal flopped back against Jimmy’s side.

“This. More than this. But if ye do not, say the word; I’ll let ye up, we’ll speak no more of it. But I do not think ye really want that, and I know I do not.” Jimmy’s hand had crept to Donal’s forearm, and the small strokes of his rough fingers bunched and smoothed the wool. “Ye did not struggle but once or twice when we lay down together. Had ye tried harder, I would have rolled over.”

“When we fell down together.” Relieved that Jimmy was so far from anger, Donal was still stung at being duped. Yet Jimmy was right — how else would Donal’s head ever come to Jimmy’s shoulder? “What more do ye want?”

“I don’t know all the ‘more’ there could be,” Jimmy murmured into Donal’s hair. “Do you?”

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