James knocked at Ed’s door, and heard him call “It’s open!” When he poked his head in, he saw Ed hurrying down the stairs, dressed rather more casually than he usually did for a recording. There was no sign of the production team.
“All right, Ed?” he said cheerfully. “Have we got time for a cuppa, or do we need to head to the restaurant? Are we meeting the others there? You said it wasn’t far, didn’t you?”
“Oh, yeah, yeah, plenty of time for a cuppa,” Ed replied, changing course to the kitchen, and motioning him to follow. “That’s a good idea, actually, because we should have a bit of a chat about this one.”
“Oh yeah?” James wandered through and lounged in the doorway as Ed got the kettle on. There wasn’t usually that much to chat about before recording a Puddings, but it was true that Ed had been pretty vague about this one. James still wasn’t sure exactly where they were going.
Ed parked their steaming mugs on the kitchen table and took a seat, and James joined him. “You see, James, and this might be a bit of an off-menu idea to you, hah, but eating sugary things isn’t the only thing my condition gets in the way of.”
“Oh yeah, I know,” James nodded. “We did that cocktails one too, didn’t we.”
Ed smiled wryly. “No, James, I don’t mean sugary drinks. See, some people, not a lot of people, but some people, and I’m one of them, like to indulge in something called food play.”
“Well, yeah?” James replied, not sure why Ed was making such a fuss. “Doesn’t everyone like to play with their food? Remember Steak-cut-chip-henge? That was a masterpiece.”
“Thanks for making this delicate conversation just that little bit more difficult, James,” Ed grinned, completely without malice. “I’m talking about sploshing.” James looked blank. “Wet-and-Messy.” James continued to look blank. “It’s a kink thing.”
“What,” James frowned, trying his best to understand, “you play with your food, and that’s sexy?”
“Well, specifically,” Ed steepled his fingers, “you get covered in food, and that’s sexy.”
James tried to process this. He saw Ed smirk faintly, and worried that his face was doing that thing it did when he had a lot of different thoughts all in a row. He tried to make it settle on “polite confusion”.
“Well, not necessarily sexy,” Ed elaborated. “Kink doesn’t have to be sexual. It can be… a release of tension, a way of letting off steam. The thrill of breaking a taboo.”
“The taboo against getting covered in food?” James replied sceptically.
“Well, there sort of is one, isn’t there?” Ed said mildly. “Behaving decorously. Looking presentable. All those things we’re expected to do instead of going crazy and rolling around in filth like children. I’d have thought you’d understand that. Or on second thoughts, maybe not.”
James accepted the insult with a self-deprecating smile. It was within Ed’s rights, after all. He was trying to tell him something quite personal and intimate, something he was probably worried about his reaction to, and he wasn’t exactly behaving as reassuring as he could have.
“Fair enough,” he said. “I can see that. I’m not gonna judge, it sounds harmless enough.”
“Thank you for your support, James,” Ed replied ironically, again completely without malice, and James mentally kicked himself. Before he could say anything to apologise, Ed went on, “So you can see that it’s another pastime that my condition makes it difficult to indulge in.”
“But you’re not… like… ingesting the food, are you?” James was floundering somewhat. Could you trigger diabetes by absorbing sugar through your skin? No, he was pretty sure you couldn’t. Although he did wish he’d read some of those articles a bit more carefully. “It’s going, like, on your outside, not in your mouth…”
“Depends on the level of force with which it’s applied,” Ed said meaningfully, and James’ eyes went wide.
“Okay, okay,” he said, shaking his head, trying to put all this together. “You like getting covered in food. And you don’t get to get covered in food as often as you’d like. So you’d like me to get covered in food for you?”
“And describe it for me,” Ed nodded.
“...And you want to film this?” James asked cautiously.
“Well, maybe,” Ed said breezily. “It might not really suit the format. But it’s something we could think about. That’s why the others aren’t coming. Best to try it out in a low-pressure environment first.”
“...What restaurant are we going to, exactly?” James frowned.
Ed laughed. “We don’t have to go anywhere. We do it here. And I don’t want you to do anything you wouldn’t feel happy with,” he held up his hands to emphasise the point, “I know this is… a bit of an ask, and I’m fine with you saying no, and we can just sit here and drink tea instead and you can rib me about my weird food thing… but if you were willing to give it a go, well, I’d really appreciate it.”
James looked at Ed, his expression so quietly hopeful. He didn’t quite know what to think – he still couldn’t see the appeal of getting covered in food, not really – but he hated to disappoint a friend. And Ed was a good friend, and was this really such a big ask? Was it really so much weirder than eating puddings on his behalf? Maybe it would be fun, even. Like… like a food fight. Just a really one-sided one. He’d never been in a food fight. He didn’t think he’d mind losing one to Ed, especially not if it meant he was helping him out.
“Um… I dressed for filming,” he said uncertainly.
“Is that a yes?” Ed grinned, his voice a stage whisper of suppressed excitement.
“Yeah,” James grinned back.
“I’ve got some old clothes you can borrow,” Ed replied gleefully, jumping up from the table, and patting James’ shoulder fondly as he strode past.
James trailed Ed up the stairs, feeling a little shy, a little hesitant, but ready to see what would happen next. It would be worth it, he was sure, to make his friend happy.
James felt weirdly vulnerable wearing Ed’s clothes, and not just because the waistband of the shorts was loose enough on him to pose a risk. Ed might have lost weight in recent years, but he still wasn’t that skinny. He shuffled into the bathroom where Ed was waiting for him, and stopped to take in the array of foodstuffs laid out on the shelves and the windowsill. There was a can of whipped cream, a bottle of dessert sauce, several cartons of custard, and – holy shit, he thought – two cakes.
“Uh,” he said, flushing slightly.
“Look, it’s fine if you want to back out,” Ed said. “At any point. Believe me. None of this is perishable except the cakes, and you could just take those home with you, I absolutely would not mind.”
James stared at the cakes, which looked damn fancy. It was very tempting. He was sure he could put them to a better use than this.
“Nah, man,” he shook his head. “I said I’d help you out, and I’m gonna help you out.” Ed’s smile was gratifying. “Just, like… throw me a line here, I’m still not clear on how this is gonna work.”
“Well, first of all, you should probably get in the bathtub,” Ed replied. “And then after that, your job is very simple. Sit there and take it, and tell me how it feels.”
James clambered awkwardly into the bath, not sure if he should be sitting or kneeling. After some faff, he settled on kneeling, and he looked up at Ed expectantly, trying not to look as nervous as he for some reason felt.
“I’ll ease you in gently,” Ed said with an impish grin, and reached for the dessert sauce. “How about some banter? Would that make things feel more relaxed? Tell me again, James, that Capri-Sun band you were in, what was your stage name?”
“Sir William Strawberry,” James mumbled, watching Ed shake the bottle. It was a weird thing to ask someone you were trying to relax.
“That was it, Strawberry. Because of your hair, was it? Strawberry blond?”
James didn’t trust Ed’s smirk, but he rose to the familiar bait. “I’m not strawberry blond!”
“We can fix that,” Ed laughed, suddenly popping the cap of the dessert sauce, and lunging to upend it over James’ head.
Caught by surprise, James couldn’t help instinctively starting backwards, and instead of the sauce just landing in his hair, thick red streaks of it squirted over his face and chest as well. He yelped indignantly.
“Oh, James,” Ed shook his head, suppressing a giggle, “now look what you’ve done.”
“Look what I’ve done?” James exclaimed, fiercely rubbing at his face with the flat of his hand. He wasn’t sure if he’d managed to wipe the stuff off, or just smear it further across his cheeks. “Look what you’ve done, more like! You shouldn’t startle a fella like that! You could have had my eye out!”
“Okay, well, that’s good, because you’re clearly feeling more relaxed now, you’ve clearly changed gears,” Ed said calmly, “so I’m glad we’ve broken the ice, and no, I couldn’t have had your eye out, but unless you say stop I’m not going to stop, if that’s all right, so would you like to settle down?”
“Yes, Ed,” James replied automatically, parking his hands back on his thighs, and sitting straight and still.
It was always a relief, in some ways, when Ed did that. Most of his friends would just indulge him when he started running his mouth off, but Ed knew that wasn’t really him, not really, and he wouldn’t hesitate to cut him off if he wasn’t in the mood. Sit there and take it, that was his job. He didn’t need to be funny or clever, or bring out his brash stage persona as a defence mechanism. Ed knew he was self-conscious, Ed didn’t care, Ed wanted him there anyway, and all he had to do to make this go well was do as he was told.
“Let’s try that again, then, shall we?” Ed said kindly. “No sudden movements this time, I promise.”
James looked up at Ed through his fringe as he leaned over and tipped up the bottle. He thought he could feel the sauce starting to pour over his head, but his hair was so thick that the sensation was muted, just a faint sense of its weight. This was weird. This was silly. The look of concentration on Ed’s face as he methodically squirted strawberry sauce over his friend’s head made him want to giggle, and then made him sober up again instantly.
Ed stepped back. He must have poured at least half the bottle over him, but he could hardly tell. “What does that feel like, then?”
“It doesn’t feel like anything much,” James admitted gruffly. “Just... like I’m wearing a bad hat. Is this really supposed to be sexy?”
“Maybe not,” Ed replied, “but this is.”
His hands landed in James’ hair, and then he could feel it, the sticky wet sauce squishing against his scalp. Ed was rubbing it in, really working it in, and little cold dribbles of it started escaping down his face, and had Ed ever really touched him this intimately before? And his hair was choked with goo, and everything smelt of strawberries, and it really, really didn’t feel good, and he was so confused.
“Description, please, James?” Ed asked, still kneading the sauce into his hair with obvious delight.
“Uh...” James screwed his eyes shut with effort. “It feels like... being in the jungle, and it’s all hot and humid, and you’re all sweaty, and your scalp’s sweating and it’s sticky... except it’s not hot, the jungle is cold, but it’s somehow still really wet and humid and sticky. And it’s all strawberries instead of leaves, and there’s a monkey trying to give you a massage.”
Ed laughed, and took his hands off James’ head. “Thank you, James, that was very good.” He idly wiped his hands on James’ t-shirt, which James supposed was fair enough, since the t-shirt was his property, but it felt a little odd when he was inside it. “Ready to try something else?” he asked, reaching for one of the cartons of custard.
James wasn’t sure if he was or not, but he nodded anyway, and Ed happily opened the carton. “Sit up straight for me, James,” he requested, and James did. “Lift your chin nice and high.” James did. Ed placed his hand on the crown of James’ head and casually pushed it back a little further. “Close your eyes.” James did, Ed’s hand still resting on his head, gently keeping his face tilted upwards. He tried not to think about what all this would mean, although he thought he probably knew.
Cold, thick custard splattered over his forehead and started to flow down his face, and it just kept coming, and he was glad he had Ed’s hand on his head reminding him not to duck away, because it was so cold, and so gloopy, and it felt so wrong to just let it cover him like this. It poured down over his closed eyelids, a subtle pressure warning him not to open them, and it dribbled down over his nose, and he panicked and opened his mouth wider so that he could breathe, and then some of it slid down over his lips and he spluttered, and gasped, and tasted vanilla. And all the while, globs of it were dropping from his chin onto his t-shirt, dampening the material and pressing it coldly against his skin, and it was trickling down over the sensitive skin of his neck, and he couldn’t help whimpering, and even though he could have made this stop any time he wanted, he felt the curve of Ed’s hand resting against his sticky hair, and he’d never felt so helpless.
The spattering against his forehead stopped, and Ed took his hand away, but James didn’t move. The custard was still slowly sliding down over his face and slapping onto his t-shirt. He waited forlornly for it to stop.
“Good boy,” Ed said, in that way that he sometimes did, and James swallowed.
“Can – can I wipe it off yet?” he asked in a small voice.
“Oh! Oh, how polite of you, James, thank you for asking,” Ed replied. “You know, I wasn’t actually going to stop you, but now you mention it, no, you can’t. Tell me how it feels first.”
James didn’t protest. The situation was unpleasant enough already, a little gratuitous cruelty wouldn’t make much difference. His only concern was finding a way of describing it to Ed’s satisfaction, when it was something that Ed enjoyed, and he really didn’t think he did. “It... it feels like...” Something floated to mind, and he grasped at it. “It feels like when you’re a kid, and you’re at a family gathering, and you say something you’ve heard your dad say, and all the grown-ups laugh, but you hadn’t meant to make them laugh, you’d wanted to sound serious and important, and you don’t understand.”
There was a moment of silence. James wondered whether being blindfolded with custard was making him talk more freely than he should have. He risked wiping his eyes, and timidly looked up to see Ed smiling thoughtfully.
“You’re right,” he said. “It does, doesn’t it? Oh, that’s very nice, James, that’s a very nice description, thank you very much.”
James felt relieved, although no less confused. “And you’re telling me you’d enjoy having this happen to you?”
“Yeah,” Ed shrugged. “Yeah, I would.”
“I really feel like I’m missing something here,” James murmured, running his hands over his face. It got some of the mess off, but it made everything feel cold and slimy all over again, and he really wished it wouldn’t keep falling onto his t-shirt. He groaned as a particularly large splatter started to seep through.
“You’re doing really well, though,” Ed said encouragingly, and James brightened. “Let’s change the pace a bit now, though, yeah? Now that you’re getting used to it. It doesn’t have to just be a sensation thing. After all, it’s called food play. It can be about mucking around, having fun.” He opened another carton of custard, and pulled his arm back, swinging it gently. “Let’s have some fun,” he twinkled.
“No – look – Ed,” James stuttered, holding his hands up protectively, following the line of Ed’s swing with a sinking feeling, “I’m not sure this is gonna be – ah! – fun...!”
The carton’s contents slopped out at speed and hit him full in the face. There was clearly still more where that came from, because while he was still yelping and squirming at the cold and shock, another wave of custard plastered his t-shirt, properly soaking the material this time, and then sliding down into his lap, to his immediate regret. He fumbled to wipe his eyes, terrified of another attack catching him unawares, and was just in time to see Ed grabbing the can of squirty cream before he plunged the nozzle down the back of his bent neck, and let loose.
“Agggh!” James screamed as the cold, sticky cream sprayed over the skin of his back. He was completely overstimulated now, nerve endings all over his body buzzing with distress, barely able to keep track of how much of a mess he was in, and he wriggled and flailed uselessly, trying so hard to be a good boy and sit there and take it, until Ed stopped squirting the cream down his neck, and stuck the nozzle down the back of his shorts instead.
James howled as cream spurted over his buttocks, and twisted wildly, desperate to escape the sensation. In a way, he succeeded, but in another, more important way, he discovered that toppling over backwards when your shorts were full of whipped cream was not a good method of relieving whipped-cream-related discomfort.
“Oh, fuck!” he shrieked, sprawled out in the bathtub writhing helplessly, face screwed up in disgust, as the cream forced itself between his cheeks. Ed was hysterical with laughter, and James felt pretty hysterical himself. This was really, really not how he had anticipated spending his afternoon.
“How...” Ed began, gasping for breath, “...how does that feel?”
James was breathless too, although in his case it was the same kind of breathless as if he’d just jumped into icy water, his body trying to close itself off against the situation it had been plunged into. He lay there trying to recover himself, slowly taking stock of all the horrible feelings he was suffering, and resigning himself to them. He felt... giddy. His nerves were ragged, his adrenaline had been spiking. Something was bubbling up in his chest, and he wasn’t sure what.
“It feels,” he forced out bravely, “like when someone tickles you, and you want them to stop, but you also want them to keep going, and you want to cry but it comes out as laughing instead.”
“Nice try,” Ed said, cocking his head, “but that’s basically just exactly what just happened to you, so, no points.”
Before James could respond, Ed had ripped open another carton of custard, and slung it unceremoniously over him. It splattered him from head to foot, falling in his open mouth, hitting his crotch, spackling his bare legs. It felt so, so unfair, and at the same time completely fair, because he’d failed at his job, he’d let himself get so frazzled that he couldn’t give Ed proper descriptions any more, and did it really matter anyway, getting another pint of custard sloshed over him, when he was already in such a state? And one way or another, Ed looked satisfied now, and he was glad Ed had taken the initiative and made things right, he was glad Ed was making the rules, because it took so much of the pressure off, it didn’t matter if he failed, because if he just let Ed do whatever he wanted to him, then he’d make him happy.
“I’m sorry,” Ed giggled as James spluttered and wiped at his face, “that wasn’t fair.”
And that was what made James crack, and the bubble in his chest imploded and burst out as uncontrollable laughter, because that comment was so ridiculous, this whole situation was ridiculous, and it had finally hit him, and he laughed even harder to think that he hadn’t realised before, how funny it was, how ridiculous, to be lying in his friend’s bathtub covered in custard and cream and strawberry sauce. He looked down at himself, his skinny body in its ill-fitting clothes, plastered with yellow slime, and he imagined his face and hair looked just as much of a disaster, and of course Ed was laughing at him, because he was ridiculous.
“Are you having fun yet?” Ed asked, his smile several degrees broader now that James was laughing too.
James raised a hand to his forehead, eyes screwed closed with laughter, gently shaking his head. “I think I am, yeah,” he gasped out, a note of wonder in his voice.
“I’m glad,” said Ed. “I’m really glad.” James grinned up at him, and he beamed. “Just, uh... don’t have too much fun, eh, mate?”
Ed pointed at a streak of custard on his own t-shirt, and James’ smile instantly faded. “Shit. Did I do that? Sorry.”
“Yeah, when you were flailing around,” Ed said. “Try and keep yourself under control, please, James? You know how it is.”
“Yeah, I know,” James nodded sombrely. “Diabetes.”
To show willing, James struggled back up into his original position, slipping a little on the now well-lubricated surface of the bath. He sat up straight on his heels again, hands deliberately planted on his thighs, giving Ed a meek look of apology. And this felt right, somehow, that Ed got to mess him up, ruin him, drench him with custard, while he wasn’t allowed to get even the slightest drop of mess on Ed. James was seriously beginning to worry about exactly what this might mean. So many horrible things had happened to him today, and he really wasn’t keen for anything else horrible to happen to him, but at the same time, he was desperate for Ed to do something else horrible to him, to see the glint in his eyes when he did it, to earn another little scrap of thanks or praise after he’d taken it.
Even as he tried to stop the pieces clicking into place, even as his cheeks grew hot with shame, James couldn’t stop himself saying, “So what happens with the cakes?”
“Oh, James,” Ed replied with glee, “I thought you’d never ask.
James was fucked. He knew he was fucked. He watched Ed pick up one of the cream-covered monstrosities, and something jumped in his stomach, and he thought about exactly how fucked he was. “Have you ever been pied in the face, James?” Ed asked.
“No,” James mumbled, hands gripping the hems of his too-big shorts.
“Maybe you should try it. Incorporate it into your act. Then your next children’s show might not be so much of a trainwreck.”
James thought about doing this on stage, about Ed doing this to him on stage, and he so much did not want to find out where that train of thought would lead that it was a blessed distraction when Ed grabbed his hair with one hand, and thrust the cake into his face with the other.
He couldn’t see, couldn’t breathe, couldn’t move, Ed’s hands keeping his head firmly in place as he rubbed the creamy, sticky, thickly-iced cake hard into his face. For something that had looked so moist and delicate, it had a surprising weight, transmitted a surprising amount of Ed’s rough force. James moaned faintly into the cloying mass, feeling completely engulfed, as chunks of it slowly broke off and landed messily on his chest, his stomach, his crotch. Just when he was beginning to panic about needing air, Ed slid the remains of the cake away from his face, up onto the top of his head, where he squished them cruelly into his hair, and James gasped gratefully.
“Description,” Ed commanded simply. “Then you can wipe it off. If it’s a good one this time.”
Heavy lumps of cream and crumb still clung to James’ face, pulling at his skin, encouraging him to bow his head, though no encouragement was needed. He desperately, desperately didn’t want to tell Ed how he really felt right now. This was meant to be Ed’s thing, and he was making it weird, him and his stupid feelings. And the worst part was, the worse he felt about that, the more he felt he deserved to be suffering all this, and that just put him right back where he’d started.
He had to say something. “I feel like… like if I supported football,” he blurted out, “and my team was a really rubbish team, but they’d somehow got really far in the FA Cup, and I went to watch them, and everyone was really excited, but then that was the match they got knocked out. And then everyone was really sad, but secretly I was relieved, because it’s better being the underdog.”
He held his breath, and heard Ed chuckle, and there was something knowing about the way he chuckled, which didn’t make James feel good, because he was damned if he knew anything himself any more.
“Thank you, James,” was all Ed said. “That’ll do.”
James took that as permission to start clawing the sticky mess from his face and hair, his movements rushed and awkward. There was one cake left, and hopefully that was Ed’s grand finale, and if he could get to it and through it and out of it quickly enough, maybe this wouldn’t all come crashing down. He wasn’t feeling relaxed any more, not by a long shot. He needed his defence mechanism now, needed to put up some kind of protective mask, just in the hope that then Ed wouldn’t see how he felt, and realise he was ruining everything.
He sat up straight, looked at Ed bravely. “Same drill, then? I’m ready,” he said, gesturing at the remaining cake.
“You’re a trooper, James,” Ed remarked fondly. “But no, not quite the same drill, if you’re okay with it, that is. I realise there’s not much point me asking you this, since you haven’t heard of any of the other things I’ve told you about today, but I’ll ask you anyway, have you heard of cake-sitting?”
“Please tell me that means you want me to look after your cake while you pop out for a drink,” James groaned, and Ed laughed, gratifyingly.
“Afraid not,” he replied. “It’s a particular type of food play that gets its own special name, because believe it or not, quite a lot of the small number of people who are into this sort of thing are into the specific act of sitting in cakes. Fancy ones especially.”
“I’m guessing this comes under the taboo-breaking category?” James asked, eyeing the cake with renewed trepidation.
“That’s certainly part of it,” Ed agreed. “Speaking of which, if you wouldn’t mind, would you pull your shorts down for this one, please, James? Just at the back, it doesn’t have to be all the way. I won’t be looking, don’t worry. I’ll be more interested in watching your face.”
Every sentence of Ed’s comment sparked a fresh spike of blindsided terror in James, which was impressive given the way it had started. James focused desperately on the most innocuous of the many, many thoughts which were now swirling round his head, which wasn’t even very innocuous. “I hadn’t realised Liza Tarbuck was such a kinky sod,” he found himself saying.
Ed barked out a laugh. “Hah! Yeah, that was a hell of an episode,” he winked, and now James realised he hadn’t just ruined everything, he’d ruined Taskmaster as well. “If you could just squat there for a moment, James, and I’ll pop the cake down behind you, and then you can pull your shorts down?”
James nodded weakly, and did as he was told, gingerly easing the back of the shorts down past his cream-smeared buttocks (and given how uncomfortable that felt, this wasn’t exactly going to be a cakewalk). He perched there uncertainly in the slippery bathtub, holding the front of the shorts in a prudish death-grip. “So how do you want me to –? Shall I just, like, lower myself, or –?”
Without warning, Ed shoved him, and for the second time that day, he sat down heavily in something incredibly unpleasant.
James screamed, because it was cold, so cold, so cold, much colder than the other cake, and it felt soft and almost wet, and what the hell was this? And it squished up between his legs, and that should have killed his arousal but it didn’t, and what was wrong with him, that he was still aroused even as he sat there squirming and screaming, freezing needles of sloppy sensation enveloping his entire nether regions, and Ed grinning his wicked grin?
“Ice-cream cake,” Ed said simply, and James stared at him in disbelief.
“You want to know how I feel?!” James didn’t wait to be prompted this time. “I feel betrayed, Ed Gamble, is how I feel! Betrayed by my good friend Ed Gamble, and by my good friend ice-cream!”
Ed laughed delightedly as James continued to writhe and groan, gritting his teeth, willing himself to get used to the sensation, willing the half-thawed cake to melt and warm against his hot skin. “You do realise, James, you’ve stopped telling me how it feels, and started telling me how you feel?”
James’ blood ran cold in a way that was nothing to do with what he was sitting in. Ed was right. Oh, God, what had he said earlier? Something about football? He’d been so flustered. Had he said too much?
“God, you’re such a perfect mess, James,” Ed breathed, and he was leaning over the bath now, his eyes alight.
“I think that myself sometimes,” James mumbled helplessly.
“Shall I tell you how I feel, James?” Ed asked, and James felt panic rise in his chest. “I feel like climbing on in there with you.”
And then suddenly that was what he was doing, clambering into the bathtub and straddling James’ splayed legs, while James clutched more protectively than ever at the waistband of his shorts. “No – Ed – stop!” James exclaimed frantically. “It’s not safe! Think of the sugar! You can’t –”
“James,” Ed interrupted gently, placing a hand over his mouth, “you’re an idiot.”
He pulled his hand away, wiping the worst of the mess from James’ lips as he did so, and then he kissed him. He kissed him. James kissed back, hesitant but eager, and tasted a faint sweetness on Ed’s tongue. He still didn’t dare let go of his shorts, but that was okay, because he didn’t particularly want the use of his hands right now, and anyway, Ed was doing enough caressing for both of them. His hands were roaming over James’ sticky body, tangling in his matted hair, plunging down into the bathtub to scoop up more goo, then smearing it over him sensuously. He was clearly getting completely carried away, pressing close against James’ custard-covered chest, moaning with pleasure, and James found it intoxicating.
“Oh,” he said, dazed, after Ed finally pulled away. “Okay.”
“Couldn’t help myself,” Ed grinned lopsidedly. There was cream on his nose. “You’re just too sexy.”
“You had to wait until I look like this to say that?” James grumbled.
“I don’t think you’d have believed me if I’d said it before,” Ed replied, and James blushed.
“Wait,” he exclaimed with a sudden frown, “do you mean – you could have just – I didn’t have to – I didn’t have to do all that?”
“No,” Ed shrugged. “But, and I’m going to go out on a limb here, I think you’re glad you did?”
James stared at him. He wasn’t going to admit to that just yet, not when he had some righteous indignation to work through. “But you said you’d enjoy having this happen to you!”
“That’s the truth,” Ed smiled. “I would. But I didn’t say I wouldn’t also enjoy doing it to you.”
James blushed harder. “Surely you couldn’t have done this yourself!” he persisted, unwilling to accept that he’d been… tricked? Seduced? “I swallowed loads of it!”
“Yes,” Ed chuckled. “But I’m smart enough to know when to keep my mouth shut.”
Then he closed the gap between them once more, and kissed James softly, deeply, appreciatively. James closed his eyes, and couldn’t help sighing when Ed broke the kiss.
“I don’t think you need to hold on to those shorts so tightly any more,” Ed commented, and James looked down to discover, to his embarrassment, that another appendage was indeed doing a sterling job of keeping them up. “Let’s find something else for you to do with your hands.”
He reached around behind him, picked up the half-full bottle of dessert sauce, and passed it to James. “Well, then,” he said graciously, “what would you like to do with this?”
There were so many possibilities. James looked at Ed, his smug face, his perfect hair, the discreet tent in his loose-fitting jogging bottoms.
Wordlessly, he handed Ed the bottle, and Ed grinned.