A little late but here it is. I wrote this a while ago.
“I can’t believe I let you talk me into this,” Quaid tugged at his turtleneck and glared at his sister.
“Oh suck it up. You know I can’t come to these things alone.” Tori tugged at her clothes straightening her dress as she slid out of the car.
“Well if you didn’t keep scaring off your dates it wouldn’t be a problem,” Quaid said.
“Shut it!” Tori scowled at him. “Besides most of the people here don’t know you’re my brother.”
Quaid shuddered. “I’m not kissing you.”
Tori smacked him with her sparkly purse. “Idiot.”
“Ouch, I’m a police officer I could arrest you for assault.”
“Try it. I’d love to explain to everyone at the station how the big, bad cop couldn’t handle a tap from a tiny lady purse.”
“That you keep an anvil in. You forgot that part.” Quaid rubbed his arm.
Tori giggled, a strange sound from the elegant woman standing beside him. With her three-inch heels her head still only reached his shoulders.
“Come on you poor abused man.”
“Finally you admit your poor treatment of me.” Quaid offered his arm so she could hold onto him as they walked across the sideway. Parking was scarce in Pioneer Square and they had to walk a fair distance to reach the gallery. Some reclusive artist was giving a show and Tori insisted she had to meet him.
Quaid knew better than to try and change her mind. If she hadn’t just broken up with her last boyfriend Quaid wouldn’t be in the position of a mindless evening rubbing elbows with art snobs. His partner Felipe laughed himself sick when he found out where Quaid was spending his evening.
“Let’s get this over with,” he grumbled.
“That’s the right attitude.” Tori said, her voice unnecessarily perky.
Quaid opened the door and motioned her inside. He regained a bit of enthusiasm when he saw a waiter wander by with a tray of filled wine glasses.
“Shoo, go look at the pictures and pretend you’re intelligent.” She made a dismissive gesture at him.
“Maybe you can pretend to be a nice person.”
“Doubtful.” Tori turned her back on him and went to greet a fellow art lover.
Quaid laughed. She didn’t really need him here she just hated to drive downtown. Two men were arguing in the corner. He didn’t like how the large man was towering over the smaller man. He approached them just as the big man turned on his heel and left.
The slim man clutched a sketchpad in a tight grip, hard enough to
“You okay buddy?”
A quick flash of startling blue-violet eyes raised to meet his before looking away. “Yeah.”
Quaid crouched down beside the young man. “Are you sure?”
He nodded but didn’t look up again.
“I’m Quaid.” He held out his hand.
“Jasper, um Jazz.” He pried his fingers off the sketchbook to offer a slim hand.
“Nice to meet you, Jazz.”
“Yes. Do-do you like art?”
Jazz didn’t speak like he had a stutter but more like he was trying to collect the words in a butterfly net and pin them into place.
“I haven’t had much exposure to it.” Quaid didn’t want to share his disdain of art with this fragile man.
He received a quick smile that struck him like a ball of lightning. “Want to see my art?”
“Is that a come on?”
Jazz’s expression of complete confusion had him backpedalling. “I was just kidding.”
“You don’t want to see my art?”
Quaid tilted Jazz’s head up so he was forced to make eye contact. “I would love to see your art.”
A dimpled smile rewarded his statement. “They are over here.” Jazz moved his chin out of Quaid’s hold.
Quaid followed completely out of his depth. He’d never flirted with a guy who didn’t understand he was flirting. Jazz didn’t appear to be picking up any of Quaid’s usual cues.
Unsure of his next step he followed Jazz to a wall of pictures. Focused on Jazz’s ass he didn’t notice the art at first. Jazz had turned to face him and he’d been lost in the purity of Jazz’s gaze. He’d been a detective for fifteen years and he’d never seen such guileless beauty in another man’s eyes.
Jazz tilted his head to indicate the wall.
Reluctantly Quaid turned to see Jazz’s work, and froze. “Wow.”
He’d expected some vague paint splashes that he’d have to give meaningless platitudes to get into Jazz’s pants. Instead he sank into the world Jazz had created. The canvas in front of him was a series of tiny pieces of paper, each bit lined up with another and created a three-dimensional world. Glimpses of color, people, and buildings peered through the strips. Quaid’s curious nature wanted to pull and tug to see the treasures hidden underneath.
“What do you call it?”
“It’s amazing.” Quaid stepped back to get a better look and his eye was caught on the portraits on the right. They weren’t just incredibly detailed paintings, but it was as if the artist had captured the subject’s soul. They were in a completely different style, but Quaid had no doubt they were done by the same person.
“That’s my brother,” Jazz pointed to the bottom painting.
The painting radiated power, the man looked like a supercharged version of the delicate man beside him. “You don’t look much alike.”
“We’re half-brothers. We share a father.” Jazz’s expression went blank as if recalling something depressing.
“Well if it makes you feel better I like this version,” Quaid said pointing at Jazz.
Jazz laughed. “Thank you. I am talented.”
He said the words without any sign of modesty or bragging but like he was stating a fact.
“Yes you are.” He liberated two glasses of wine. “Would you like one?”
“Jazz doesn’t drink,” A deep voice answered for him.
Quaid turned to see the man in the portrait. “Ahh the half-brother.”
“I’m Nolan. Why are you trying to seduce my brother?”
“He’s not trying to do that Nolan,” Jazz said.
Nolan and Quaid exchanged looks.