Exclusive Excerpt from Wild and Precious
by CJane Elliot
Sunday was another hot and muggy day, but Brent and Graham stayed cool hanging out in the Hirshhorn. Brent didn’t know much about modern art, and Graham proved a fascinating guide, making Brent see things in the paintings that he never would have on his own.
After they were done with the exhibits, they went outside to stroll through the sculpture garden. As they gazed at an Alexander Calder sculpture, Brent asked, “Are you an artist too?”
“Sort of. Not anywhere in the league of these guys. My mother is the true artist in our family. I paint and sketch some, and I love interior decorating. Shut up—I know it’s a stereotype.” Graham waved his hands around. “My God, dear, those curtains will never do!”
“No, you shut up. I wasn’t thinking that at all. You have an eye for stuff. I mean, the way you dress, even how your office looks, so I’m not surprised about the interior decorating.”
“You like my office?” Graham looked pleased.
Brent raised a playful eyebrow. “Well, yeah. It’s much classier than those cubicles you stuck the staff in.”
“Naw, I could have made my cubicle more colorful by now. But I don’t have your eye. Like those paintings. I saw a crap ton more in them with you showing me than I would’ve by myself.”
“A crap ton?” Graham laughed. “That’s eloquent.” He bumped Brent lightly on the shoulder. “But thanks. I liked showing you.”
Before they left the gallery, Graham stopped in the store and bought a striking Miró print, then presented it to Brent with a flourish. “For you. To decorate your cubicle.”
That evening, Brent let himself back into his apartment, setting the Miró print and his keys on the table. His laptop beckoned, but he had no desire to work on his writing. Instead, he flung himself on the couch and closed his eyes as pictures of the day floated in front of him: Graham, laughing, handsome in his casual jacket and tight jeans; Graham, pointing out something in a picture on the wall; Graham, smiling at him, gray eyes alight; Graham…. Crap.
Brent jumped up and started pacing. After two laps around the living room, he came to a halt, nodded decisively, and grabbed his wallet, pulling out a folded paper napkin. Opening up his laptop, he navigated to Match.com, and started typing.