Thomas Barrow, Jimmy Kent, Downton Abbey
Length: 3 chapters
Before reading this, you should read The Edges of Life
Thomas couldn't remember it ever being this hot .... or dry. It had only rained once in the last fortnight and that was overnight. The usually green lawns of Downton had taken on a decidedly brown tinge and the gardens wilted in the heat. And it was the heat that was getting to him as he climbed the stairs to his room. In an attempt to stay fresh he had changed his shirt twice today. At this rate he wouldn't have enough to last through the week unless the laundry was done early.
He opened the door into his room and the blast of hot air surrounded him. The first two floors of Downton were bad enough, but in the servant's quarters on the third floor it was stifling. Everyone had left their windows open, but it had no effect. To make matters worse, the rooms didn't cool down much during the night, making sleeping almost impossible. He found himself tossing and turning, the bottom sheet sticking to him; he had done away with an upper sheet and pyjamas about a week ago.
He stripped, grabbing a flannel and soaking it in the tepid water of the washstand. It wasn't much, but the water as it trickled through the hair on his chest to his groin actually felt cool. He dipped his hands in the water and ran them through his hair. After a quick towelling, he lit a cigarette and went to the window, hoping there might be a breeze. Of course there isn't. Fuck this heat. It's a good thing I didn't go to Bombay with my cousin. He sat down on the stone sill with his backside partially out the window. His room faced the open area behind Downton so no one would see anyway. At least that's cool.
Tomorrow would be easy. The entire family would be away for the next few days. Even Tom Branson who seldom went with them was going. He and Mrs. Hughes had convinced Carson that if it was as hot tomorrow as was predicted that everyone should have most of the day off. Maybe it was the heat or maybe Carson was mellowing – yeah, I'm sure that's it – but to their shock he had agreed almost instantly. The looks on the faces in the servants' hall were to be remembered. Mrs. Patmore said she, Daisy and Ivy would put together some sandwiches for everyone and that there would be a cold supper so even they would be able to escape. Jimmy's had grinned and winked at him.
He stretched out on his bed. It had been a few months since their first kiss. It wasn't our first kiss but Jimmy says the "fiasco in the bedroom" is done with and best forgotten. To everyone else, things hadn't changed much. It just seemed that they had become closer friends. Well, at least that part's true. However ... He chuckled. It was the however part that had made for some interesting times. As he had promised, they hadn't done anything until Jimmy was ready and even then their circumstances made things difficult. Some type of intimacy on a daily basis wasn't too difficult, even if it was just touching or Jimmy's hand briefly resting on his arm. Sex was another matter; probably less than once a week They had to be careful. He never wanted to put Jimmy at risk.
His room, Jimmy's, once in the woods on their way to serve at a family picnic. That last one was quick but exciting. They couldn't take off their uniforms so he just pushed Jimmy against a tree and used their handkerchiefs to stop the ground from staining the knees of his trousers. Jimmy came in couple of minutes, grunting as he hit his head against the tree, lodging bits of bark in his hair. Jimmy wrapped one of the handkerchiefs around his cock, stroking him roughly, licking his ear and playing with his nipples through his shirt. The handkerchief didn't stop him from soaking Jimmy's hand.
There was a knock at the door and Jimmy barged though it. Thomas unsuccessfully tried to cover his erection.
"Christ, at least wait until I ask you to come in."
Jimmy glanced toward his hands and laughed quietly.
"Do you want me to take care of that?"
He jumped out of bed, struggling into his trousers.
"No. And shut the door."
He grabbed a cigarette and dropped into the armchair as he lit it.
"So what's so important that you lose your manners."
Jimmy tousled his hair as he walked by to the window.
Thomas laughed as he inhaled and ended up choking on the smoke.
"Have you been taking lessons on how to be obvious?"
Jimmy pulled off his tie, then his waistcoat. As he slowly unbuttoned his shirt he sauntered back to the chair, stopping so their knees met.
"Why, Thomas, whatever do you mean?"
"Says the man with his cock poking out of his trousers."
"Alright, alright. What do you want?"
"I thought that was obvious."
Thomas shook his head.
"What has gotten into you?"
"Well, it's more what I want to get into."
Despite himself Thomas laughed again.
Jimmy buttoned up his shirt again.
You don't need to do that though.
"Okay. What are we doing tomorrow?"
"We could go into the village and have a few drinks."
"Yeah, but I think everyone else will have the same idea. Alfred will want to tag along with us."
"That's fine. I like Alfred."
Jimmy's stared at him.
"What? Since when."
"I don't know. He grows on you."
"Yeah, I thought he might want to watch us fuck. Pick up some pointers."
Jimmy's fit of giggles almost had him on the floor.
"It wouldn't be only his hair that would be red. Mind you, do you ever wonder about Alfred? The way he's preoccupied with Ivy, I'm sure he gets busy every night."
"Oh no. Not a good Church of England boy like Alfred."
That set Jimmy off again and he had to sit down on the arm of the chair. He idly ran his fingers up and down Thomas's neck.
"So drinks and a fuck?"
"Maybe a picnic too. If you can grab some of those sandwiches and nick a bit of the supper, I'll get us a bottle of wine from somewhere."
"Yes, I'm sure you will. Maybe we won't need the drinks."
"More time for the fuck." He patted Jimmy's knee. "Off with you, unlikely as it may be we both need to try to get some sleep."
Jimmy leaned down to kiss the side of his forehead as pretense before grabbing his cock.
"Fine. But think of all you'll be missing."
Thomas grunted as he squeezed and let go.
"What type of monster have I unleashed? Go!"
Jimmy stood up, but leaned down again, this time kissing him on the mouth.
"Maybe you'll find out the answer to that tomorrow."
Before Thomas could think of a comeback he was out the door.
Thomas stripped again and turned out the light. He lay on the bed, desperately trying to find a comfortable spot. He finally fell into a fitful sleep, images of Jimmy's body slicked with sweat teasing his dreams.
The next morning was clear and it was already hot by ten when everyone wrapped up the few chores they had to do. Thomas waited for Jimmy in the yard, nodding to everyone as they passed on their way out. Except for Jimmy, Alfred was last.
"What are you going to do, Mr. Barrow."
Thomas knew he was fishing for an invitation. Despite what he said to Jimmy last night, he really had grown to like Alfred and hated to see him alone. He knew only too well how that felt. If it had been any other day he might have asked him to join them.
"Jimmy and I have a picnic planned," indicating the blanket tucked under his arm.
"I saw Ivy and Daisy start walking toward the village. If you hurry you can catch up."
"I don't think they would want me around."
"Nonsense. Don't sell yourself short, Alfred. They'll enjoy your company. Just be sure to pay some attention to Daisy, too."
Alfred blushed, bringing to mind Jimmy's comment from the night before. It was all he could do to keep from laughing.
"I saw Mr. Molesley heading that way. Maybe you prefer his company?"
"When did you say Ivy and Daisy left?
"No more than a couple of minutes ago."
"Thanks, Mr. Barrow."
Thomas smiled as he watched Alfred lope away. Good luck.
"So he's off?"
Thomas turned to find Jimmy leaning against the doorjamb, a wicker basket in hand.
"Yes. Sandwiches and some cold meat pie. Plates, napkins, glasses. Which reminds me, did you get the wine?"
"Of course." He pulled a corkscrew from the pocket of the jacket he had slung over his shoulder. "It's in the bushes around the corner."
"Should I ask where it came from?"
They started walking together. As they passed the bushes, Thomas pulled out not one, but two bottles.
"Where are we going?"
"Remember the picnic the family had a few weeks ago? It's a nice area, there's shade and even a stream to keep the wine cooler. Maybe deep enough for a swim."
"I seem to recall it's a bit out of the way as well."
"Well, of course. I don't own a bathing costume. Think of my modesty."
"Oh Thomas, there's very little modest about you."
Along the way Jimmy had grabbed a handful of wildflowers, tucking one behind his ear and trying to convince Thomas to do the same. He shrugged him off, smiling all the same. As they walked along Jimmy hummed to himself when he wasn't talking to Thomas. It took them about thirty minutes to reach the spot. By that time both of them had dropped the suspenders from their shoulders and pulled their open shirts out of their pants. Thomas spread out the blanket in some shade while Jimmy put the wine in the stream a short distance away. When he came back his shirt was off and his hair was dripping water.
"I couldn't resist. You're right, it's deep enough for a swim."
He walked up to Thomas and shook his head vigorously, like a wet puppy.
"Take your shirt off." He watched him fold it and toss it on top of his jacket. "That's better."
Thomas pulled him down to the blanket.
"It's too early to eat. Want to do something else?"
"I thought you would never ask."