He drops the shirt, eyes still searching mine to check that I’m sure. “Okay.”
I sit on the couch, looking up at where he stands near the window. He looks out over the skyline, completely at ease. By contrast, my heart is tunneling a path out of my body through my throat. I spend more time than I should on his chest, the geometry of it: perfectly round, small nipples. A map of muscles, built of squares, rectangles, darting lines, and sharp angles. The triangular tilt where hipbone meets muscle. I feel him watch me as I draw the dark hair low on his navel.
“Do you want my pants off?”
“Yes,” I answer before thinking and quickly shout, “No! No. God, oh my God, it’s okay.”
My heart could not possibly beat any harder.
His mouth is half unsure smile, half straight line. I want to spend a year drawing the exact shape of his lips in this moment. “I really don’t mind,” he says quietly.
The devil on my shoulder tells me, Do it. Do it. Your geometric style never works with drawing legs. This would help.
The angel just shrugs and looks away.
“If you’re sure,” I say, and then clear my throat, explaining: “You know I’m really bad at drawing legs and . . .”
He’s already unbuttoning his pants, hands working the soft denim, unbuttoning the fly one tiny pop at a time.
It would be good for our friendship if I could look away, but I can’t.
With Herculean effort, I drag my eyes up to his face. “Yeah?”
He doesn’t say anything more, but holds my eyes as he pushes his jeans down his hips and kicks them to the side.
“Yeah?” I repeat. I am breathing too hard for this. It has to be noticeable.
This is totally different. Something is happening this morning that is not canon Oliver + Lola. I feel like we’re stepping through the doorway into Wonderland.
“Where do you want me?”
“Oh.” I clear my throat. “Right there is good.”
He is, but I don’t trust myself to direct him right now.
“Maybe just lie down or—” I stop abruptly as his words get processed. Shit. “Or sit. Sitting is fine. I mean, whichever.”
He gives me his tiny mysterious smile and goes to the rug in the middle of the room and lays down in a giant sunbeam.
The panel shows the girl, staring at the boy, her skin covered in licking, blue flames.
Oliver tucks his hands behind his head, crosses his legs at the ankle, and closes his eyes.
It’s all I can see.
It’s there beneath his boxers, half-hard, obviously uncut, following the line of his hip. My God, it’s thick. And if Oliver is a grow’er, he could knock a woman’s teeth out when he fucks her.
I tilt my head, my hand hovering over the paper. Why is he half-hard? Is this a guy thing that happens when they’re being drawn? Probably. Is that awesome or totally embarrassing?
Obviously for Oliver it’s awesome because look at it. I mean him. Look at him.
That’s right. He can hear my lack of scribbling. I sit on the couch and begin furiously drawing every tiny detail of his body: the dark hair on his legs, the corded muscle of his thighs, deep grooves beside his hips, and yes, even the shape of him beneath his boxers.
I’m flipping through dozens of pages, determined to get every detail down and color it later. My hands are a mess of charcoal, my fingers cramping with the speed and intensity of my work.
“Roll to your stomach,” I say.
He does, and I catch his hips flexing, pressing down once hard into the rug: an unconscious thrust.
Every muscle in my body clenches in response: a pleading wish thrown out to the Universe.
I catch sight of a long scar running up his left side, bisecting a few of his ribs.
“Fall on the first bike trip,” he murmurs, referring to his Bike and Build involvement, where he met Ansel and Finn and they biked across the U.S., building low-income housing on the way.
The scar is big—half an inch wide, maybe four inches long—and I wonder how long Oliver was off the bike after that.
“I never knew you crashed on that trip. What did you do about the biking and building part?”
He shrugs, readjusting his head on his arms, and I marvel over how easy he is in his skin. “Got stitches. I took maybe two days to recoup. Wasn’t that big a deal, it just looks nasty.”
I hum, listening to him talk about biking as I work to master the muscular curve of his calf, the arch of his foot, the protruding bone at his ankle. “Canberra is flat,” he says. “We rode our bikes everywhere. It’s a perfect city for it. Nice tracks. Good roads. Even though I rode all the time, my mates and I were idiots a lot, so of course I fell a lot, too.” I love his voice, get lost in it as I count the vertebrae of his spine, the way his hair curls over his ear, the dark shadow of stubble cutting across his jaw. It’s one thing to see all of this, and another thing entirely to imagine touching it, knowing it as well with my hands as I now do with my eyes.
I have a lifetime’s worth of fantasies on these pages, and I am convinced Oliver has just helped me create the sexiest thing comics will ever see.
I wipe the back of my hand across my forehead, sighing. “I think this is good.”