Monday, 6 December 2010

Monday ManCandy: 'Sketchbook Revelations' by PolkaDotMama

It's Monday so it must be tie for some more slash fiction with the adorable twosome. This week's rec is 'Sketchbook Revelations' by PolkaDot Mama.

It's another AH/OOC M rating *whispers* on account of the boy-sex (which is also excellently written btw, as per my lemons requirements) but in a nice twist, this story is complete. Yes that's right folks, if you're looking for some instant gratification to get you through the Holidays, this is it.

Author's summary: Jasper makes a confession to Edward that changes their lives forever. When words fail they rely on their sketches and more to reveal their inner most secrets. Their unique friendship grows and transforms. Can it survive the sketchbook revelations?

There's everything you could want from a story in this. The characters are superbly crafted, the plot line is a mixture of tentative steps in the present and past revelations; sweet couple moments where only they matter, and harsh family reality where 'who you do' can become more important than who you are.

And dare I say it? I really like Edward in this. No, really I do. He's insecure and shaken and vulnerable and he cares just a little too much about everything. He's very real and there's none of that arrogance we normally associate with him (although he is a bit of a drama queen at times...). Jasper is a sweet, sensitive soul and the character development right from the beginning is a slow and steady progression.

And if you like a bit of angst you won't be disappointed. Who's sending Jasper threatening notes? And what will his dad the 'don't ask, don't tell' Colonel, who refused to speak to Edward for a year when he came out, saw when he finds out Jasper is not only gay but with Edward?!

Here's an excerpt from chapter 19. It's important to understand at this point that Jasper has been working as an often-nude model for some time to supplement his income. It's a superb piece of character development that really showcases their relationship.
Driving to the art gallery, I started to feel a little anxious. It had been awhile since I had modeled nude before students, and I had never done it with another man, only solo or with a woman. The debacle that was the underwear photo shoot showed me what could happen when I was seated so closely to Jasper, and I really didn't want a repeat performance of Little Eddie wanting to come out to play, especially when he was already…out. Hopefully, with our relationship not being so new anymore, I wouldn't get hard just from his skin touching mine. Although, Jasper might have that problem this time around, considering how his body had been reacting to mine for the last few months. I just hoped we wouldn't embarrass ourselves.
When we arrived at the gallery, we were surprised at how large the class was. There must have been thirty students and easels forming a circle around a large round rug with several pillows scattered on it that was obviously our spot. The teacher approached us and asked in his heavy French accent if we were the models, saying we fit Dr. Banner's description to a tee, while he led us to a small room off of the studio where we could change for the class.
"I'm a bit nervous," I admitted while we started to get undressed. "Are you?"
"No. I do this all the time though. It's almost second nature to me now. I'll be there right next to you, and we can probably even talk most of the time, especially tonight while they are just roughing things in."
There was a small knock on the door and we quickly left the room to enter the studio. The teacher's back was to us as we made our way to the rug and started to find a comfortable position we felt we could hold for three hours. When the teacher turned to give us more direction he walked toward me and asked if I could recline on an elbow with a knee raised. Jasper was facing me, my knee in front of his torso and when the teacher walked around to his back, he let out a gasp, and then a small shriek.
Jasper jumped at the loud noise behind him, and I scowled as I saw where the man was looking and what he had reacted to.
"Your body is…scarred!" he said in a scandalous, pretentious voice, accusation dripping from his tone.
Jasper turned to face him and told him with no shame, "Yes. I was assaulted nearly two months ago." As his body was turned, the man scanned the scar on Jasper's side where his spleen had been removed, and a look of disgust twisted on his face.
"This will not do. I am paying you very good money to sit for these fine artists. I need models who have bodies that are perfect. You will have to go," he said with condescension to Jasper, and then looked to me. "You can stay."
"No sir, I'm sorry. If Jasper goes, then I go too." I held my anger back, biting my bottom lip until it hurt. "Now if you'll excuse us, I believe you have a class to teach and new models to find." Standing quickly, I held my hand out to Jasper and pulled him to his feet, seeing unshed tears swimming in his eyes. I held his hand as we hastily moved toward the dressing room, seeing many eyes follow us that were filled with embarrassment, shame, and anger, but it was all directed at their teacher, not us.
We dressed in silence, making quick work of our clothes and shoes before leaving the room. As we walked toward the front of the gallery, I noticed several people had packed up their art supplies and were leaving the class, even though one of the students had stepped in and was already laying down on the rug serving as the model. I unlocked the car and started to open the door, overhearing several of the students complaining about the teacher, talking about how bad they felt for Jasper and how unnecessary firing him was before I took us away from that place as fast as I could.
I didn't know what to say, but I felt I should say something to him. His eyes were glassy as he stared out the passenger window and ran the fingers of his right hand over the back of his left. It was obvious that this hurt him and when I took a breath to say something he turned to me and looked me straight in the eye.
"Don't say anything, Edward. I knew this was going to eventually happen. I never thought it would happen at an art class. I always thought it would be with a modeling job." His eyes looked resigned and sad, and all I wanted to do was go back there and punch that fucker in the face. I must have been clenching my teeth because Jasper reached over and started to gently massage my jaw with his thumb as he smiled at me. "Let's just go home, Babe. Now we have five nights to ourselves. We can do whatever we'd like. How about a movie?" he asked, the smile finally reaching his eyes.
"But the money Jasper. That would have helped you so much." He looked back toward the side window, and I saw him nod his head out of the corner of my eye. We both remained silent the rest of the drive home, but I reached for his hand and held it between us, our arms resting on the console.
When we walked in the front door, Jasper hung up his coat, took off his shoes, and started turning on Christmas lights all over the house, including the outdoor lights. His silence was scaring me but I let him be, knowing that he wasn't ready to talk quite yet. I was used to this routine because this was how things were handled in the past. If something bothered Jasper, he was quiet while he thought about it, and tried to work it out, eventually he would come to me. I knew how to play this role as his friend, but I wasn't sure I could do this as easily as his lover, but I would do my best to give him space.
I walked to our room and quickly got dressed into a pair of red flannel pajama pants. In the kitchen, I popped some popcorn, opened a couple of bottles of beer before heading into the living room to find a movie that I thought Jasper might enjoy. When he joined me a few minutes later wearing a pair of navy flannel pants, I was already settled into the corner of the couch, sitting cross-legged, resting the bowl of popcorn between my legs. Jasper sat in the middle of the couch, stretching out his long legs and resting his bare feet on the coffee table. He still hadn't spoken except for saying 'thank you' when I handed him a beer and I wasn't about to push it so I started the movie.
As soon as the popcorn bowl was emptied and set on the coffee table, Jasper laid his head in my lap, as if he had been waiting for his spot to open up. Without thought, I wove my fingers through this hair, fingering the wheaten curls and playing with the soft locks at the back of his neck. It didn't take long for him to fall fast asleep, so I turned off the DVD player and television, sitting there and watching the peace finally wash over his face, erasing the subtle lines of worry that only I could distinguish.
I wasn't sure what Jasper was most upset about. Was it the loss of the money, or the fact that he had been turned down for a job because of the scarring that Jessica caused? The longer I thought about it, the angrier I became. Not only had she nearly killed him, but now she was still affecting his life and most importantly, his fucking livelihood. It wouldn't always be that way, but now, while he tried to pay for school, he was using his body to make money.
There was only one thing that I could think of to help him…somehow give him money. If he stopped paying me his rent, which I really saw as part of the mortgage, that would free up a lot of cash each month, but I knew that he would never agree to that, knowing that I had to make our house payment.
I had been considering closing out one of my investment accounts and if I did, I would have enough money to pay off our house. The money wasn't earning nearly as much interest as I was paying on my loan, and the money would be better served paying for real estate that we planned on living in for many years to come.
This was our house.
From start to finish this story is superbly written, with so much attention to detail it'll astound you. The sketchbook theme is woven throughout and the relationship is beautifully written, showing a real in-depth awareness of the dynamics between two people who know everything about each other and yet are re-discovering themselves and each other as well.

And when you're done with that? There's outtakes.

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