A/N – And now I want to go to New Orleans, or at least eat a beignet. This relates to John's memory of his father in Chapter 2 of my story The Ones We Carry and generally to Time Out to See, however it isn't necessary to have read either of those to understand this. I hope you enjoy. :o)
Warnings – Sugary sweet fluff with no real purpose or plot. Some mild sexual content and a kind of dirty word.
Disclaimer – Yeah, nope, not mine.
Laissez Les Bon Temp Rouler.
John isn't in bed. I lift my head and look around the room. I don't see him. I sigh as I climb out. My legs are still weak and shaky from last night and I have to hold onto the dresser for a moment to stabilize myself. I grab a pair of pyjama bottoms from my suitcase and the t-shirt John wore yesterday from the floor. It smells like sweat, and airplane, and John as I pull it over my face. The smell tickles my nose in a pleasant way.
When we'd been planning this trip I'd wanted to stay at the Ritz-Carlton. New Orleans has one, so why shouldn't we stay in it. John, however, had been insistent on staying someplace smaller and with more character. I'd reluctantly agreed because it made John happy and wasn't nearly as important to me as it was to him. I hadn't bothered to look at any of the pictures he had sent me of the hotel simply because it was irrelevant. As long as there was a bed and John I'd be as content as possible. As I had no expectations, I was very pleasantly surprised when I walked into the room yesterday.
The hotel is actually two old houses joined together and converted. There couldn't have been more than 15 rooms, and John had reserved the largest. It was a suite on the top floor with a bedroom, living area, small kitchen, and large picturesque rooftop balcony.
This is where I find John, sitting on a lounge chair with a cup of coffee in his hand.
I reach down and push on his knee and he spreads his legs so that I can sit between them. I lean back and rest my head on his shoulder.
"Morning," he whispers in my ear before placing a kiss there.
I grunt out a response, not yet wanting to be awake. John smiles against my cheek and drapes an arm over my shoulder.
"As I recall from the pre-holiday planning, this day was reserved for activities of my choice. I don't recall 'waking up without you' being on the list." I grumble at him.
We'd had some conflict over choosing what we wanted to do during the trip. John, being John, came up with a satisfying solution. He would be in charge of the evening we arrived, then we would alternate the four whole days, and I'd be in charge of the morning we left. As the first whole day, it is mine.
"Sorry," he says in the way that indicates that he's not sorry in the slightest. "I got up to go to the loo, and when I got back you'd spread out all over the bed. There wasn't any room for me anymore." He places another kiss on my cheek.
"Clearly, I was cold and seeking out your body heat. It was very inconsiderate of you to leave me all alone."
"Mmmhmm." He replies sipping his coffee. It smells delicious. I reach a hand up and he relinquishes the mug willingly. I take a long sip. For a man who likes his tea about half sugar, he drinks his coffee as bitter as possible.
I hand it back to him and notice my new camera sitting on the small table next to us.
"I took some pictures of the sunrise over the buildings." He says as I grab it. I turn it on and hold it out in front of us. I feel John settle into the pose behind me and I quickly snap three pictures.
I discovered fairly early in our relationship that I liked having pictures of the two of us. I was surprised by it, but it is an easy enough hobby to maintain. I generally use my mobile to snap pictures during dinners or when we're simply sitting at home. However, it seemed inadequate for holiday photography. I have a camera that I use when cases require photographs, but I didn't feel comfortable bringing that one on holiday. I didn't like the idea of having pictures of dead bodies on the same camera with pictures of John. I'd settled the problem by purchasing a new pocket camera just for this.
Well, this and taking erotic pictures of John, another hobby I've found I enjoy. In fact, the very first picture is one I snapped of John in the shower less than 20 seconds after I had taken the camera out of the box. He'd been annoyed, I hadn't cared.
I take a moment and scroll through the pictures we have taken so far. In the three I just took we both look sleepy and have easy smiles. There are a handful that John took of the sunrise, the pinks and purples reflecting off the buildings. Several that we took in the airports and on the airplane. Several as we walked around last night, the club, the river, the city.
There is also one I took last night when we got back to the hotel. I was on my back, in bed, and shot straight down my very naked body. John, equally naked, is standing at the foot of the bed holding my foot up and is about to place a kiss into my arch. My toes wiggle at the memory and John chuckles behind me.
"What are you going to do with all of those?" He isn't entirely comfortable with the erotic pictures, or the 'dirty pictures' as he calls them. When I try to show them to him he often blushes, and doesn't want to look. I have yet to determine if he is uncomfortable with the sexuality of the pictures or his physical appearance. He continues to allow me to take them though, so soon I will figure it out.
"I like to look at them sometimes." I answer truthfully.
"You know, there is porn all over the internet without having to create your own."
I turn slightly so I can see his face. "It isn't pornography. That does very little for me in general. I just like to look at you."
He's blushing slightly and looks down. I look away and settle back on his shoulder so that he can feel less awkward. "I'll stop if you want me to." I say.
I feel him shake his head. "No, you enjoy it. As long as they don't end up online or plastered all over the flat, they're fine."
"Why on Earth would I post them online? And sometimes people come into our flat. I don't share normal things, why would I share my pictures of you?"
"Sorry, I don't know what I was thinking." His voice is sarcastic.
I set the camera on my lap and reach for the coffee cup again. "Besides," I take a sip. "I want you to take some of me tonight. I'm going to kiss every inch of you, like you did to me. It was torturous and you should be paid back." I greedily drink down the last few sips before offering him the mug back.
He sighs, but takes the empty mug and sets it on the table. "You always say you are going to do that but never succeed."
He wraps his arms around my waist and hugs me. I huff, even though he's right. "It is not my fault you are distracting and don't allow me to complete the task."
"Distracting? Even the time you tied my wrists up so that I couldn't touch you? I don't think so." I can hear the smugness in his voice. As conservative as he is with the photographs, the bastard is arrogant when it comes to the act. It would be annoying, if it wasn't justified.
"You were particularly distracting that day." I answer, the image of him with the tie around his wrists very clear in my mind. It's distracting still.
He chuckles at that, kissing the side of my neck. I hum in satisfaction, surprising myself. He can draw the most alarming noises out of me. I always intend to get my reactions under control, but not today.
We sit in silence for a long time. The temperature cool, but not unpleasant. Significantly better than the cold that is already blasting London. It's moments like these that I see the appeal of the tropical locales.
The city is relatively quiet around us. We are far enough into the French Quarter to not hear the regular city noises from the surrounding metropolis. Yet we are also far enough off Bourbon St, not to have been kept up all night with the drunken revelry. It's actually remarkably idealistic. If I allow sentiment to surface, I could picture spending the rest of my life like this.
"What's on the agenda today?" He asks, his voice barely breaking the tranquility surrounding us.
My instant reaction is to say, I want to do this, all day. That isn't practical though, and remarkably New Orleans has many more interesting things to offer than I anticipated.
"Cemetery tours and the Voodoo Museum," I reply. I know a ridiculously small amount about voodoo and I intend to correct that on this trip.
He chuckles again, "a day of the mystical and the macabre." He squeezes me.
"Well, as your dead father is the reason you wanted to travel to this location to begin with, it seems appropriate." He'd finally confessed to me why he'd wanted to come to New Orleans. He'd been embarrassed, saying I'd think he was being a sentimental idiot. Sentimental, clearly and always. Idiot, never.
I don't really understand the reasoning. New Orleans was a dream of his fathers, not his. His father's been dead for 30 years, it isn't as if he can take the pictures home and share them. But it was important to John, and an easy enough request to fill. My only hope is that it will bring him some peace.
"I realize we haven't been here very long, but do you think your father would have enjoyed the city?" I look back at him and for a moment he's contemplative.
"I think so. He would have enjoyed the music, I know." He pauses. "It's funny, other than music and Monty Python, I know very little about him. Harry has actual memories. With a few exceptions, I have more impressions and feelings, I guess."
"You were young." I reply. "That is a normal." He shrugs at this, not wanting to talk about it anymore. I let it drop.
I cover his hand with mine and interlock our fingers and change the subject. "I have also decided that we will be going to the Café place again for more of the beignets. They will be a satisfactory breakfast. You are always harping about the importance of breakfast." The beignets were more than satisfactory, they were delicious and I intend to eat them every day. I almost regret being so dismissive of John's desire to go to some place so cliché and touristy. Almost.
"I don't think I was including fried dough in the important breakfast category, but if you will eat it we will go." He kisses me once more on the neck and releases me. "We should probably think about getting showered. It sounds like we have a long day ahead of us."
I grab his arms and pull them back around my waist. "There are dozens of cemeteries. If we only make it to a few that is acceptable. There's no need to rush. I'm officially adding this to the agenda."
He settles deeper into the chair. Then he rubs his nose along the outside of my ear. His breath is warm down my neck and it makes me shiver. "It is your day, your rules."
I close my eyes and enjoy the feeling of John. Suddenly the sound of a trombone makes its way up to us, the New Orleans' street performers beginning their day. I wonder when the sound of that horrible brass instrument became so enjoyable.
Travel Tip – The Ritz-Carlton New Orleans is an amazing hotel and usually very reasonably priced. I highly suggest it, and NOLA, in general, if you haven't been. The food alone is enough of a reason, but the people are amazing, and the culture overwhelming. You won't be sorry.