CategoriesFree Read · Well Met at the Hen and Hog

A Hen and Hog Free Serial – Ira Moves In

“You bet, Mrs. S. I’ll come get him for a walk in just a few.” Jed waved as he got his own apartment door unlocked. He didn’t specify a few what. Minutes. Hours. Days. He’d just pulled a double in the perpetually under-staffed Hen and Hog, and was exhausted. Not to mention he and Ira had been working opposite shifts and he’d barely seen him for three days. He’d hoped to avoid their elderly neighbour and her little dog, too, but the woman had bat ears or something.

“I’ll keep an ear out!”

“Right. I’ll be—oof!” The apartment door thudded against something heavy and he almost wacked his face into it. “Ira?” He knocked and shoved gently at the unmoving door. “What’s going on?” A glance over his shoulder showed him Mrs. Stanfield had aborted her retreat into her own apartment. He waved again, more feebly then turned to his door and stage whispered. “Ira.”

What had he done? Frantically, he thought back over the last few days to find what offence he’d committed that warranted being blocked out of his own apartment. Surely if Ira was pissed at him, he’d just leave and go down to his own place, one floor directly below.

“Coming!” Ira squeaked from the other side of the door. “Sorry! I’m coming. Give me a—ouch!” There was a thump, an almighty crash and Ira’s high-pitched panic voice. “For the love of—fuck—ow!. Oh. Shit. Okay.  I’m coming, Just a sec.”

The sound of something heavy being dragged across the tiles preceded Ira’s sweaty, flushed face appearing in the door. “Hi.” He scratched at his scalp through drooping frosty blue spikes.

“Hi,” Jed said cautiously. “What’s going on?”

“Don’t be mad, okay?”

“Why would I be mad? Can I come in, please? Mrs. Stanfield’s getting way too interested in why I’m still out here.”

“Sorry. Sorry, yeah of course. Shit.” He almost fell over backwards and Jed had to reach through the cracked open door to catch his wrist. “Fuck  Just…” He disappeared, there was more scraping, and the door opened a fraction more. Just enough for Jed to squeeze through.

The apartment was overflowing with furniture. It looked like every last bit of Ira’s apartment had been moved into Jed’s. The tiny space could not handle it all. Lamps balanced precariously on top of piles of boxes. Ira’s art table and supplies were stacked against and on top of the kitchen island, and his clothes filled the cramped kitchen workspace.

His fancy, refurbished sofa had been the heavy item blocking the door, and now Jed had to climb over it to get into the very small open space in the middle of it all.

He lifted on foot to do just that when Ira squeaked.

“You have to—I mean…” He raised big, harrowed eyes to Jed. “You boots.” He pointed with the hand that wasn’t covering his mouth. “Please.”

“Of course, darlin. What was I thinking?” Certainly not that he was going to step on Ira’s immaculate furniture with his motorcycle boots. Wedged in the barely foot-and-a-half square space in the doorway, he wrestled one boot off, climbed over the couch, and plopped down on it to get the other one off.

Ira pushed the door closed behind him and flopped down next to him.

They sat for a moment, shoulder-to-shoulder, Jed with one boot in his hand, and Ira with both his hands twisting in his lap.

“Well,” Jed said at last, tossing the boot over his shoulder where it thudded against the door and fell to the floor. “Better tell me what’s happening.”

“So. Landry called.”

“Okay.” Jed had never met the ex-dancer, now Waterloo student who had lent Ira his apartment to hide out in when he’d left Toronto, but he’d always assumed he was a decent sort of guy, to risk his deposit on letting a friend in need squat in his place. Now it looked like he might have to revise that thought.

“So he sort of…dropped out.”

“He’s coming back, then?”

“Well no. He’s moving to Vancouver with his artist boyfriend or something. But he sort of got cut off.”


“His father sort of took away his allowance.”


“And so he needed his deposit back, because now he has no money, and it was too late to get a refund of his tuition. And I mean. We work at the same place. You know I don’t have that kind of money to give him, so he had to let the lease go. Because I could have danced a few gigs to get it, probably. But—”

“I never complained about you dancing, darlin. You know that.” Jed wrapped an arm around his boyfriend’s shoulders. “Just that I want to be there. To keep you safe.”

“No, I know. And that’s cool. But…”

“You didn’t want to.”

“Not really? And anyway, it was too short notice to get good enough gigs for that kind of cash, and I couldn’t very well tell him I still needed his place, since I don’t. It was only ever a place to hide from Cedric, and I don’t have to do that anymore.” He stopped abruptly, a half-grin on his face at the realization he had every now and then, that he had banished that monster from his life by putting him behind bars once and for all.


“People came to look at the place today. A really nice young couple. It’s perfect for them, and tomorrow’s the first of the month. I had to get my stuff out.”

Jed released him so he could twist around to see him better. “And how the hell did you get all your shit up here by yourself?”

“Well I—didn’t. The guys helped. Bryce and Avery and those guys.” He frowned “Except Mitch. He said he would, but he never showed. I wish I knew where he was.”

“Never mind Mitch right now.” Jed had a few thoughts about Ira’s drug-using, stripper friend he knew were terribly uncharitable. He was having a harder time banishing them every time the guy didn’t show up for Ira when Ira needed help, but did manage to find him whenever he needed something.

“Also the nice couple, Rod and Kristie, they had a few friends willing to help. You’ll like them. One of them owns a diner…the Breadbasket or something?”

“Egg Basket. It’s about a block from here.” Jed shook his head. “And not the point.”

“Right. Sorry. I’m…” he huffed. “I’m sorry about this. You don’t have to take me in. I’m sure I can find a room or—”

“Stop.” Jed took Ira’s face in his hands. “It isn’t if I want you here. It’s if you want to be here.”

Ira gazed at him. “I didn’t intend this to happen so soon.”

“I know. That’s why I’m askin’. If you’re not ready, then we’ll figure it out.”

Ira stared at him as if waiting for something.

Not knowing what else to do, Jed kissed him.

It was usually magical the way Ira melted into him. This time, it was more like trying to get hold of squirming puppy made of smoke and wishes.

Ira opened for his tongue, gripped his shoulders and then fumbled with the buttons of his shirt, but gave up before he got any of them open. He tried to squirm into his lap, but knocked a shin on an end table and swore into the kiss.

Jed cupped his chin and pulled them out of the kiss. “Darlin’, I think you’ve sworn more in the past fifteen minutes than I’ve heard you swear since I met you.”

“I just—I don’t know—Jed.” He almost whined, and his gaze pled with Jed to fix this.

Jed nodded. “I know just what you need.”

“You do?”

Jed grinned. “First, we have to take off my shirt and spread it over your special couch. Don’t want to make a mess of all your hard work, do we?”

“A mess?”

Jed flipped Ira onto his back on the couch next to him and started undoing his own buttons. He winked. “Trust me, darlin’.”

Ira nodded. “’Kay.” He said, breathless in the exact way Jed had aimed for.

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