This Dangerous but Irresistible Pastime

~3800 words :: Jude Law/Ewan McGregor :: 4/15/04 -4/17/06
The first time, Ewan was surprised this bloke even approached him. Bloody gorgeous and what does he need to be paying for sex? But pay he does, nervously, like he’s never done this before. And maybe he hasn’t, or maybe it’s an act; Ewan doesn’t care one way or the other. (Note: This is a set of stories written over two years. Dates represent the dates the stories take place in the timeline, which jumps around a bit. While I had wanted to write more in this universe, the stories are complete and the most recent one ends where I wanted the series to end, so it is not a work-in-progress.)


May, 2004

The third time, he falls asleep after. Not surprising seeing as it’s after midnight. Ewan stretches out next to him, tired enough to maybe fall asleep himself. He can’t, though, never can. The guy seems nice enough, but Ewan would have to be a lot sleepier to let his guard down like that.

He gets up instead, pads over to the tiny hotel bathroom, doesn’t close the door as he pisses and cleans up. His stomach growls, and as he stands in the doorway, he toys with the idea of just leaving now. Get dressed quickly; take the money on the nightstand; rifle through his wallet, even. There’s sure to be more.

The guy snorts, turns on his side, and Ewan holds his breath. Hasn’t even done anything yet and he feels caught in the act. The guy doesn’t wake up, though, and eventually Ewan relaxes again.

There are two pairs of jeans on the floor: Ewan’s tatty ones, knees worn through, and this bloke’s, looking brand new in comparison. He kneels, pulls out the guy’s wallet and is disappointed to find there’s only another twenty. Fuck that. Ewan takes it anyway, holding it crumpled in one hand as he flips through, looking at the credit cards and driver’s license. Jude Law. Well, at least Ewan knows his name now. Not that it matters.

Not even five minutes later he’s dressed and out the door.

April, 2004

The first time, Ewan was surprised this bloke even approached him. Bloody gorgeous and what does he need to be paying for sex? But pay he does, nervously, like he’s never done this before. And maybe he hasn’t, or maybe it’s an act; Ewan doesn’t care one way or the other.

The next day, Ewan imagines a life for him, and he doesn’t know why he’s thinking about him at all, except that it’s something to pass the time as he eats his Big Mac. Just finished uni. This is his first job, first real job. He’s…what? A teacher, maybe. No, that’s not quite right. Boring office job. Someone’s assistant, yeah. He can picture it, filling in the details of this man’s imaginary life until he’s distracted by the idea of a showdown between these anemic fries and proper chips. Even with numbers on their side – there must be fifty or more in this little bag alone – the fries don’t stand a chance, pathetic excuses for potatoes that they are.

June, 2004

He’s surprised there’s a fourth time, more surprised than he was at the second and third. He did nick £20, after all. He entertains a brief fantasy of this Jude being some sort of serial killer, and his own name appearing in the paper the next morning with the headline “Rent Boy Found Dead In Sleazy Hotel”. It has a certain ring to it.

November, 2004

Now Ewan’s surprised when more than a few days go by without seeing him, though he still likes to imagine gory deaths for himself. It’s better than the alternative. If he imagines anything else, he might actually come to believe it, and he’s not that stupid.

The one time he asked Jude why – and that’s all he asked, just “why?”, not all the other questions that wanted to come pouring out – Jude said, “You reminded me of someone.” Ewan wonders if he still reminds Jude of whoever he was, or if it was just that first time. He wonders and then he turns on his side, picking at his cuticles, and imagines the goriest death he can think of.

October, 2004

Sometimes it’s not just fucking; sometimes they go to the cinema now, too.

Once, when it was late and hardly anyone else was there, Ewan slid to his knees and sucked Jude off to the pounding soundtrack of some big-budget action flick.

This time they’re both engrossed in the film. Ewan’s stopped fidgeting, caught up in the story playing out on the screen, for once not playing one out in his head. He feels Jude’s hand on his as if he’s seeing it from the corner of his eye.

Jude still pays, though, both for the tickets and for Ewan.

January, 2005

Winter is nothing like summer, which should be obvious, but it’s more than just the difference in the seasons themselves. In summer everything’s an adventure. Winter, on the other hand, involves a lot of hunched shoulders, depression seeping in around the edges no matter how hard he tries to fight it off.

Jude is nothing like Ewan, which is so obvious that Ewan never gave it any thought. But as winter drags on, Jude seems to cling tighter, face pressed to Ewan’s back as they lie sweaty and tangled. Ewan closes his eyes, reaches back to touch Jude’s thigh, desperate.

February, 2005

“Aren’t you going to introduce us?”

“Oh, uh…” Jude trails off, glancing from Ewan to the girl and back again.

The silence couldn’t be more awkward if it tried and after what seems like ages, Ewan just sticks out his hand, gives his name, leaves it at that.

She says she’s Cathy-from-the-office, all one word, smiling as if she’s trying to reassure Ewan she means no harm. Not a threat.

It makes him wonder what she thinks he is to Jude. Whatever it is is nothing like the truth, though Ewan’s not quite sure himself what the truth is anymore.

September, 2004

Their lips meet and there’s a moment of confusion, of is this really happening? because they’ve never kissed before. Ewan’s had this man’s cock in him more times than he can count on both hands, and they’ve never kissed. They’ve never stood like this in the middle of the room, half-dressed and grinding against each other, mouths open and hungry, tongues sliding together.

This is how Ewan’s always imagined it, though, right down to the way Jude looks when he finally breaks away, eyes dark and heavy-lidded, lips parted and just a little bit swollen, breathing hard through his mouth. And then Jude pushes him down on the bed, slides his hand under Ewan’s waistband and kisses him again and oh. It makes Ewan’s stomach flutter and he thinks maybe he shouldn’t be feeling this way.

He thinks maybe he oughtn’t see Jude again, even if it is good money, even if Jude is possibly the best looking customer he’s ever had. He thinks that might be a good idea because Jude is a customer and already it’s getting so easy to forget that, to separate this from the money.

But Ewan’s always been better at daydreaming than following advice.

August, 2004

It’s late. Or early, rather. Ewan’s been watching the clock, watching the little red lines blink on and off, rearranging themselves into new numbers. It should be boring enough to send him to sleep, but it’s not. There’s a tenseness in his shoulders and neck and when he closes his eyes, they don’t seem to want to stay closed. Instead he stares into the darkness, at the small bit of the bedside table illuminated by the clock, and the vague shapes of the telly and the bathroom door beyond.

“Stay the night,” Jude had said, and for some reason Ewan had agreed.

It’ll mean more money, and Jude promised breakfast in the morning, too. Ewan wonders what it will be. It’s a long time since he’s had anything home-cooked. It probably won’t be, though. It’ll probably just be toast and coffee, which he could have had at home. He spends the next few minutes trying to remember if there’s any bread left or if he’d eaten it all the other day.

Jude slips an arm over Ewan’s waist, making sleepy noises and nuzzling at his back. Ewan catches his breath, tenses up even further, but within minutes he’s out cold.

December, 2004

Ewan’s never got pissed with a customer before, but then most of his customers haven’t required much more than a blowjob or a quick fuck. Even the ones who’ve come round more than once, who’ve come round five times or ten, they just want his arse or his mouth or his cock. Just random body parts, that’s all he is to them, and that’s fine, really, because what does he want with them?

It’s just Jude who’s always fucking things up like this. Maybe he’s blowing Jude in the backroom of a club and maybe he’s getting money for it, but that’s not it. That’s not where it ends.

They go back out on the floor, grinding and snogging more than actually dancing, and they drink enough that by the time they stumble back to Jude’s, Ewan can barely keep his eyes open.

Still, he pushes Jude onto the sofa, giggling as he falls down on top. He fumbles with Jude’s belt and his fly for what feels like hours, but with Jude’s help he finally gets them undone, gets Jude’s cock out, warm and still a bit sticky from earlier. He bends down and kisses Jude, Jude’s cock slowly firming in his hand-

-and then he’s waking up. His head is pounding and the room is dark, but he’s not in his own bed. He’s not in a bed at all, he realises when he tries to roll over and runs right into the back of the sofa. The movement sends a spike of pain right through his head and he groans and pulls the blanket up higher.

He wonders if maybe he ought to go to Jude’s room, if maybe Jude might want a fuck in the morning, but the thought of moving makes him sick and he falls asleep again before he can give it a second thought.

March, 2005

Jude says, “I bet you’ve been up this way a million times.”

Temple pressed against the glass, Ewan stares out the window at the trees rushing by, and eventually says, “No.” He knows Jude looks over, though he can’t even see him from the corner of his eye. He hears Jude’s answering “oh”, and feels the silence settling around them, heavy and uncomfortable.

This is how it always is. They skate along on the surface, lulled into almost believing that they’re what others see: friends, boyfriends. But the thin ice is always there, waiting for the inevitable misstep that shatters the illusion.

Almost a year since they met and they don’t know anything about each other. Oh, Jude knows Thursday is Ewan’s birthday, and that he’ll be twenty-five, but he doesn’t know that Ewan’s only been on this road once, and it was the opposite direction. He doesn’t know that this will be the first time in seven years that Ewan’s been back to Scotland.

Ewan doesn’t tell him now.

He rolls the window down, sticks his head out like a dog. The air is freezing and has him shivering despite his jacket and the jumper underneath. The wind pushes against his chin, trying to force his head back. If he crawled up and out the window he would blow away, swept up like a scrap of paper before crashing down on the tarmac.

With the window down, he can’t hear the music, can’t hear Jude talking – which Ewan doesn’t even know if he is or not – he can’t hear anything but the wind. He doesn’t roll it up til they stop for lunch and by then his face feels icy and numb. Jude comes around to Ewan’s side and puts his hands on Ewan’s cheeks. “Fuck, you’re one step away from frostbite,” he laughs. His hands are cold, too, but still feel warm in comparison. The longer they’re there, the warmer they get, or maybe it’s Ewan’s face getting warmer.

Jude steps closer, his knee brushing Ewan’s, and Ewan leans back against the car. There are other people in the carpark, but all Ewan notices is the way Jude’s tongue flicks out over his lips – once and then again a few seconds later – the way his Adam’s apple bobs as he swallows. The way he leans forward, hands still on Ewan’s cheeks, and kisses him. “God, your nose’s fucking frozen, too,” he mumbles against Ewan’s lips, and Ewan presses it harder into Jude’s cheek.

“Oi,” Jude laughs and pulls back, mock-punches Ewan on the chest. “Wanker.”

“Your fault for giving me the idea.” Ewan punches him back, grinning. “Wanker.”

They keep it up all the way across the parking lot and into Little Chef. They’re tagging ‘wanker’ onto the end of every sentence as they eat their burgers and drink their Cokes, until finally Jude sobers a bit and says, “You really haven’t driven up this way a lot?”

“No car.”

“By train?”

“No money.”

And Jude finally seems to realise he should drop the subject. Ewan doesn’t tell him he can’t go home. He doesn’t tell him that while it’s easy to lie to his parents over the phone, he doesn’t think he could do it to their faces. He doesn’t say how much it would hurt to see them, how it makes him feel sick and ashamed and low just thinking about it.

After a while, Jude says, “When I was at uni, Alasdair and I used to do weekend roadtrips all the time. Scotland, Wales. Cornwall a couple times.”

Ewan makes a non-committal noise, glad his mouth is full so he doesn’t have to answer. He’s heard the name Alasdair from Jude before. He knows it’s someone Jude went to uni with, an old boyfriend. He doesn’t know what happened to Alasdair or whether he’s the one Ewan reminds Jude of. He doesn’t know if he still reminds Jude of Alasdair or whoever.

He knows if he tried to pay for this meal Jude would protest, so he lets Jude pay for both of them, just like he lets Jude pay for everything, even though he knows now that Jude can’t really afford it. Junior architects don’t make that much. He knows most of Jude’s spare cash goes to pay for him as it is.

Does he budget for it? Ewan imagines a surely-non-existent pie graph: rent, food, electrcity, whores. Or whore, rather, as Ewan’s pretty sure he’s the only one.

In the loo before they leave, Ewan stares blankly ahead and wonders what it would be like to take a roadtrip with your boyfriend. Would it be just like this except he’d be spending money instead of earning it? He shakes off, zips up, runs his hands under the water and wipes them off on his jeans, and he tries not to think about what might have happened if he’d met Jude under different circumstances.

When they get back in the car, he slides into the passenger seat, buckles up. He wonders if Jude would let him drive part of the way, but he doesn’t ask. He keeps the window rolled up this time, not just because it looks more and more like rain.

The album that’s on is ending, so he squirms around to reach into the back seat for the CD wallet. Jude says, “My turn to pick,” but as Ewan flips through the sleeves, reading off album titles, each one is met with an unenthusiastic “ummm”.

“Picaresque?” Ewan offers hopefully.

“Too new. I want something I can sing along with.”

Ewan sighs, loudly and dramatically. They’re wasting precious time they could be listening to something, never mind that he’d wasted a good hour of such time earlier because he had the window open. “Okay, look. I’m going to choose two discs at random, shuffle ’em, and you say right or left.”

“Fine, fine.”

Closing his eyes, Ewan flips through and picks out two CDs, shuffles them from hand to hand, and lays them face down – or what he hopes is face down; he’s still got his eyes squeezed shut – one on each knee. “Okay, pick.”

“Erm…left. No, right.”

“Sure?”

“Yeah, right.”

“Picaresque.”

Fuck!

“I didn’t do it on purpose,” Ewan says, sticking Immaculate Collection back in its sleeve. “I didn’t even know that was one of them, I swear.”

Jude glances over at the CDs. “What was the other?”

“Madonna.”

“Madonna?” Ewan nods. Jude exhales loudly, lip sticking out in a pout. “Fuck.”

After changing discs, Ewan tosses the case behind him and settles back in his seat, half-humming, half-singing along with The Infanta under his breath. Jude joins in after a bit, saying he knows more words than he thought he did, and Ewan can’t keep the grin off his face.

The next time they stop is for petrol. Ewan buys a couple bottles of Coke, a bag of crisps, biscuits, and a few chocolate bars. When he comes out, bag swinging from his fingers, Jude is just hanging up the nozzle. He thwaps Jude on the arse with the bag and then grabs him around the waist, pushing him up against the pump and kissing him. If there weren’t so many people around, he’d do more; his tongue flicks into Jude’s mouth like a promise and Jude’s hips cant forward, feet inching apart.

Jude pushes him away finally, eyes heavy-lidded and dazed, his breath coming in white puffs. “Maybe we should stop here for the night.”

“At,” Ewan checks his watch, “three o’clock?”

“Fuck you.” Jude pushes him towards the car.

“Maybe later.”

In the car, Ewan opens the first of the Cokes slowly, praying it doesn’t explode. It fizzes a bit, dribbling over his fingers and onto his jeans, but he’s not paying attention to that because Jude’s holding out a fiver as if he expects Ewan to take it.

“What’s that for?”

“All that,” Jude says, indicating the bag between Ewan’s feet.

“You don’t have to.”

“Just take it.”

Ewan does, exchanging it for the sticky bottle of Coke. Jude takes a drink and sets the bottle in the cupholder as he starts the car. Crumpling the note up, Ewan stuffs it in his pocket.

He pulls the bag up onto his lap, sticks the other Coke between his thighs, and asks, “Salt and vinegar crisps, Bourbon Creams, or Aero bars? I got plain and mint.”

“The crisps,” Jude says after a few moments.

“Good choice.” Tossing the rest of the snacks in the back seat, Ewan opens the crisps and holds out the bag for Jude.

The only sounds are their crunching and the CD player. When the last crisp is gone and the empty bag has joined the rubbish pile behind the driver’s seat, the last strains of Butterfly fade out and the album loops back to Tired of Sex, but Ewan doesn’t change the disc. He’s decided he’s not going to change it until Jude tells him to, stupidly petty as that may be, but the next song starts off this is beginning to hurt and he leans forward, jabbing at the eject button and jerking the CD out of the slot. Fucking emo whingers. It’s Jude’s turn to choose again, but Ewan doesn’t ask, just sticks in the Madonna from earlier.

He sings along because he doesn’t know what to say.

It’s long since dark by the time the reach Edinburgh. Ewan’s eaten all the biscuits, but his stomach’s rumbling again. He fumbles about in the back, but can’t find the bag with the Aero bars among the rubbish.

“What’re we doing for dinner?” he asks, finally giving up. It’s the first thing he’s said to Jude in ages it seems – several albums, anyway – and he can’t remember why he was out of sorts. He doesn’t try very hard to remember.

Jude is silent for a while and then says, “You have anywhere in mind?”

“No.” There are places he wants to avoid, but nowhere he particularly wants to go. “Whatever’s fine. McDonald’s, even.” He reaches out, slides his hand up Jude’s thigh, fingers brushing over the inseam and following it up. He leers. “I’m more interested in,” he struggles to keep a straight face, “dessert.”

Snorting, Jude bats his hand away. “Not while I’m driving. Christ…”

“Guess I’ll just have to entertain myself, then.”

“Huh?”

But Ewan doesn’t answer. He pops open the button on his jeans, tugs down the fly. He’s not hard, but he pulls his cock out anyway, spreads his legs and sinks down in his seat. Eyes closed, he gives himself a few stokes; it’s a rush doing this, where anyone could see if they looked in the window, and his cock’s stiffening fast.

There’s a strangled groan from Jude, a pleading “Ewan…” followed by “Jesus, you want me to have a fucking accident?”

“Not a fucking accident,” Ewan laughs, eyes still closed, “a wanking accident.”

Jude just groans.

It’s not long before the car comes to a stop. Ewan knows it’s not a stoplight because Jude’s turning off the engine, and when he opens his eyes, he can see they’re in the carpark of a Travelodge. Unbuckling his seatbelt, Jude leans over, hand curling around Ewan’s, and between frantic kisses, he mutters, “Get your dick back in your jeans. I’ll be back in a sec.”

Ewan does. It’s not comfortable, but it’s his own fault, he supposes, and Jude’s only a few minutes checking in. Then they’re grabbing their bags – just a duffle bag for each of them and Jude’s laptop case – and hurrying up to their room. It takes a couple tries to get the keycard to work, especially with Ewan pressing up behind Jude, bag-laden arms wrapped around his waist.

They tumble inside, lock the door, leave the bags on the small table. They fall onto the bed, kicking off trainers and fumbling with buttons and zippers. They push up jumpers and layers of t-shirts, and Ewan is once again annoyed that Jude wears underpants. He tells Jude this as he tugs them down and Jude just laughs and says that comfort comes before ease of access.

Jeans around their thighs, they thrust against each other. Jude cups Ewan’s arse and arches up, lips parting under Ewan’s. Their breathing is ragged, gasped between kisses, and that and the little grunts and moans are the only sound in the room. Unlike either of theirs, the hotel bed doesn’t creak.

Digging his toes into the duvet, Ewan tenses, holds his breath as he comes against Jude’s hip. His fingers clench in Jude’s jumper, in his hair. After a few moments, he rolls off, reaches down. He wraps his fingers around Jude’s cock and brings him off. His heart is still racing and Jude is kissing him. His stomach is rumbling again, but he’d rather stay here, legs tangled with Jude’s.

Dimly, Ewan thinks that this is probably how it would be if they were boyfriends.