Product Placement

Chapter 13 - Wisp

Butch was most easy to spot in the early winter, when the temperatures would drop suddenly in the night to that point where breath would only begin to curl out in visible puffs – and that was only if the exhalation was forceful. In this, one would expect to spot bits and pieces of breath, but full blows clouds were out of the question. Burning ash and vapor made for more stable bits of exhaled carbon, and as such the source of the poisonous clouds was easy to locate if you were looking.

Francis was looking, and thus Butch was easy to spot.

It didn't take long to find him, as the hustler was also gifted with knowledge of where to find the smoking storyteller, which drastically cut down the number of alleyways to check. A cloud of smog drifted in his path, pointing him in the right direction, and after a moment of allowance for his eyes to adjust to the dark. There was a quiet, almost unheard breath, a deep inhale. Suddenly Butch appeared, the outline of him barely traceable in the deep shadow, the lines drawn from the tip of the burning cig, wrapping around his body and finally racing back up to the dim embers. Butch took another drag, undisturbed.

More often than not Francis would just stare. Just waiting. Butch would either finish off then and there or he would blow a plume of smoke in his face. Both would earn him a half-hearted glare and some sort of reprimand for ruining his lungs or fouling up the air. Butch would take it in stride – at most calling him a jerk or saying 'yes grandpa'. The times he did decide to say anything about it Butch was silent, offering no excuse aside from an occasional shrug or, if he were feeling particularly generous, he'd stub out the poison early, grinding it into the dirt with his boot to make a point. Francis appreciated the aggressive if not reluctant gesture.

This being said, it was hard to keep himself from watching the boy smoke. It just… looked good on him, if that could be said. A good look for him was probably the better way to phrase it. It might have had something to do with the way the smoke fell over his lower lip when he didn't feel like exhaling the smog forcefully, or the pucker he made when he did force it from his lungs. It might have been the way he held the burning ash between his fingers, covering the entirety of his mouth and chin when he inhaled. Maybe it was the sated look on his face when he was between puffs.

The same sated look he treated the hustler to after a long kiss or a good fuck.

Without warning a shiver crept up the hustlers spine, making him tremor almost visibly. Butch made no move to move or talk or even acknowledge him. Francis wondered if, maybe, Butch let his guard down and was relaxing for a change. But then his dark brown eyes flickered between the burning embers at the end of his smoke and the half-lit clasps on his coat, and Francis knew he was caught. It was only then he lifted his eyes from the cigarette to the person holding it, watching the body unfurl along the wall, stretching out and opening up into the moonlight. It was almost horrifying how he seemed to suddenly come to life from shadow, smoke falling from his nose and mouth, eyes lit up with dull fire – but again came that chill up his spine, and he knew it wasn't merely from the cool air nor was it from fear.

There was just something about the disgusting habit that was undeniably sexy.

"Whatcha lookin' at?" Butch asked him, letting the smoke float out between the words.
"Mm. Wanna hit?"
"Then why're you starin' at me?"
"I'm not entirely sure."

Butch smiled warily, pulling the smoke stick from his lips and exhaling after it. Francis watched the vapor curl and twist in the air before vanishing. He wondered for a moment what Butch would think, in his position. Would he or had he thought of all the poetic analogies, the similes and metaphors that went along with him smoking a cigarette in the dark? How the smoke would hang, calling attention to itself but keeping the source directly hidden, right up until the source caught his eye. The way the smoke curled and hung gently in the air, like a shadow, like him, before slipping away into the night. Like him it was repellant, but ultimately interesting to watch, to observe, if not somewhat dangerous to his heath and demeanor. Addictive and captivating all the same. It was just so undeniably him that Francis suddenly found that the image of him without a cigarette infinitely more troubling than him with one – as if it was an extension of the body that held it.

But then again, Francis was never one for any of that literary mumble. That was more Butch's thing. The hustler wrinkled his nose as another plume was forced his direction. He really had been hanging out with the storyteller too much.

"Lookin' for a good time, big boy?" Butch cooed, drawing his attention back to reality
"You're going to get abducted someday."
"Will you save me?"
"It'll cost you."
"Bastard." He took one last drag and stubbed the cigarette out on the wall, facing the hustler

For a moment, Francis wanted, more than anything, to know why. He wasn't one for just accepting anything on sight alone. He needed details, specifics, and tangible evidence. Without that, whatever he was told was more than likely a lie, and he would refuse to believe it. In this case he wanted, yearned to know why Butch smoked who made him, how it felt to breathe in burning air and willingly poison himself. He wanted to know if it felt like dying, or if it felt like living better than he did breathing simple air. He thought of recanting his refusal earlier, and reaching out to take a hit of the next cigarette Butch would undoubtedly pull from his coat. Just to see how it felt, to understand, to feel what someone like Butch felt. But instead of that, he demanded something else.

"Kiss me."

Butch smiled in earnest this time and, exhaling the last bit of smoke, he obliged.



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