Something Wicked This Way Comes

Friday, January 25, 2013

Friday Flings #2

This is the second short story in my Friday Flings series. Called Restoration, this story is about second chances. As always, I hope my readers will leave constructive criticism and let me know what you think of the story. Have a wonderful weekend, my friends!

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RESTORATION

By Tucker McCallahan © 2013

I stared at the parking ticket stuck to the driver’s side window of my 2010 Dodge Avenger and wanted to yank the parking meter out of the curb and brain the first cop I saw. When I got downtown for my appointment I was already running fifteen minutes late, just one more problem in a day filled with them. As usual, parking was impossible, so when I found a space five blocks from the building I needed to be in, I swung over and parallel parked.

I managed to curb my brand new tires, which pissed me off, but I was hurrying. I also spilled my non-fat mocha (with two shots of espresso don’t skimp on the whip) on my tie and burned my tongue. All this was small potatoes compared to the stellar start of my day, the blow out argument Lane and I had that ended with his confession he’d been cheating for two weeks. Fucker couldn’t even confess properly. He’d been cheating for a month. I hacked his email.

What a tool.

Then I parked and discovered the meter was broken. I put a quarter in the slot and it didn’t register any time. So thinking the upstanding employees of the city would check such a thing before issuing a ticket, I left the car there and scrambled for my appointment. Now, I stood staring at a ticket for seventy-five fucking dollars. They had to be out of their damn minds!

I fumbled my phone out and brought up my camera, setting it to take video. Then I stamped the time and date on it, and proceeded to record myself putting another quarter in the fucking meter while I narrated how I shouldn’t have to pay the stupid ticket, because the meter was broken. Once I got the stupid thing done, I checked to make sure it recorded and sent it to my email.

I wasn’t sure how this day could get any worse. My client left when I didn’t show up on time for my appointment, so I lost a really good potential account. Lane was at the condo moving his shit out, so I couldn’t go home. Now I had a parking ticket to contend with on top of everything else. I sighed. My phone alerted, the sound it makes when my email cycles, and I checked to make sure the video went through.

“Will? Will Andrews?”

I turned at the sound of my name.

“Oh my god. David?” I couldn’t believe my eyes. The smile on my face was automatic and I took him in my arms, hugging him before I thought about it. “What are you doing here?”

“I just took a job in that building.” He indicated the Rogers Building, a monolith slowly being restored to its former glory in the heart of downtown. I nodded; that made sense. David was one of the best restoration specialists in the country. His wedding ring glinted in the sun and with that, all the happiness left me. Memories flooded my brain and I stepped far enough away from him that we couldn’t casually touch.

“How’s Amanda?” My tone was light, civil, even kind. I’d been one of the groomsmen at their wedding. Hell, the only reason I wasn’t his best man was because his family thought his brother should have that job. The fact that David and I had a torrid affair through college, then on and off during his relationship with Amanda had little to do with me bowing out of the gig. Right.

“Uh, she’s good. Hey, do you have plans for lunch? I was just on my way out to get a bite. Let me treat you and we can catch up. I haven’t seen you in what… over three years?”

“Ah…” I racked my brain for a reason I couldn’t go, but the truth of the matter was I had no reason not to go with David. I needed to give Lane more time to move out. “Sure. Lunch sounds great.” I forced a smile.

We ended up at the Main Street Café, and despite my initial discomfort, within minutes of being seated we fell back into our old friendship. We hadn’t been able to stop seeing each other in college for a reason. David and I just clicked. He was so vibrant and full of energy. I laughed hysterically listening to the way he talked about his work and the people on his crew.

I was a professional genealogist and did family trees. Though the work I did was usually for the purposes of authenticating estate claims or other legal matters, sometimes I got some real crack pots who had more money than sense. I shared some of my zanier stories with David over sandwiches, pie, soda, and coffee. He checked his phone.

“Damn. Will, I really enjoyed this, but I’ve run over my lunch by almost an hour. I have to get back. Can I have your number?”

I bit my lip. I knew what would happen if I gave him my number. We’d go down the same road as before. I couldn’t be anybody’s down-low lover. I’d been out and proud since graduate school. I’d taken more lovers than I wanted to admit to, and I’d had two long-term relationships: nine months with Jerry and eight months with Lane. OK, so maybe those weren’t exactly long-term but they were long-term for me.

After David got married I accepted that I’d never find anybody else like him.

Now here he was again, asking for my number with that same gleam in his eye. He blatantly ran his eyes over me like he hadn’t gotten enough to eat at lunch. I got hard instantly. But this time I’d make the right decision. This time, I’d do what was good and decent. I met his beautiful blue eyes even though it hurt like a heart attack to do so.

“I don’t think that’s a good idea, David. Thanks for lunch. Tell Amanda I said hello. I hope things continue to go well for you two.”

I dropped money on the table and left before he could say anything else. He had the most confused expression on his handsome face. I felt a twinge of guilt for running out of there, but it was pure self-preservation. I still loved him, and he was married. He made his choice on a May morning four years earlier, and it wasn’t me.

I finished up my day in a fog. I went to the university library, paid my monthly fee for usage of their archives, did some research, and put in several orders for inter-library loan material that I needed for my work. I went to dinner by myself at Panera and worked while I ate. I kept seeing David’s face in my mind. I replayed memories and bits of our past, reliving our greatest hits. It was bizarre. Lane was the lover moving out of my condo, but it was David who I spent the day thinking about. In a way it was poetic justice; I’m sure Lane wasn’t thinking about me while he moved, either.

Over the next several days I couldn’t seem to get out of my funk. Everything reminded me of college, and of the years I lived in the house with my friends and David. We had all been so happy together. I’d been naïve enough to believe that everybody knew and nobody cared about my relationship with David. As it turned out, the rest of the house was blissfully oblivious. I was his secret, and he wanted to keep it that way. It killed me, but I’d maintained the façade. Never again.

Two weeks after my lunch with David I went out to Roué, one of the local gay-friendly dance clubs. The few friends I had despaired I’d never get over my breakup with Lane. Privately, I knew Lane had nothing to do with my poor mood. I needed to fuck my old college flame out of my head. Roué was as good a spot as any to meet a potential hook-up.

After finishing my third drink, I secured my place on the dance floor. My chair wore my shirt and I gyrated to a dubstep remix of the latest Usher song. Now there was a guy I wouldn’t mind spending a night getting to know top to bottom. Usher was sex personified. When he sang, “Relax and get on your back,” man, I was ready to do it.

A tall, hulking guy with a military buzz cut slid up behind me and started dancing with me. His face wasn’t much to look at, but his body was mouth-watering. For such a big guy he moved well and we danced through two numbers before he made the drink sign and I nodded. I was dry as a bone and hard as a rock. Looked like I found my hook-up for the night.

Katy Perry’s “Last Friday Night” spun up remixed to a funky, techno beat. Rather than wait for Mr. Buzz and my drink, I spun back out onto the dance floor. As the first chorus started, a pair of strong hands grasped my hips and pulled them back into a rock hard, denim-clad ridge that lined up perfectly with my ass. I groaned and ground back as my partner pressed forward, teasing the shit out of me. His heat was intoxicating against my back. Bare skin and chest hair brushed against my back and sent chills racing all over my body. He’d taken his shirt off. I shuddered. God he smelled good. I reached back and looped my hands around his neck. My fingers slid into silky soft hair. Mr. Buzz didn’t have hair…

I spun around and came face to face with David. He was bare-chested and sweaty, and holy motherfucking hell did he look delicious. A pair of Levi’s hung so low on his hips I knew he wore nothing under them, and unlike many of the patrons dancing out here on the floor, the bulge in the front of David’s jeans was real. His eyes sparkled with a combination of drink and arousal. Before I could say or do anything he slanted his full lips over mine and kissed me.

The world stopped rotating with his kiss. I soaked my boxer-briefs with anticipatory arousal as his strong tongue stroked mine, licking the roof of my mouth and flicking my teeth. His hands molded to my ass and held me pressed to that bulge, and goddamn if I didn’t remember what it felt like to be under him, over him, inside him, all from the taste of his mouth. He pulled away and continued to dance with me slowly, his hands all over me and his eyes hot on mine.

“What are you doing here?” I couldn’t help it; the question was automatic.

“Dancing.”

I pulled away from him. The flicker of hurt and uncertainty in his eyes killed me, but I couldn’t do this! “Don’t fuck around with me, David.”

“I’m not. I asked for your number. You ran out of the diner without giving it to me.”

I took a deep breath and shook my head. My arousal faded as I saw, again, the wedding ring on his finger. “Does Amanda know you’re here?”

He looked confused. “Will… we need to talk.”

“I don’t think so. You made your choice four years ago, David. You chose her. I’m not going to let you trample your marriage vows and be some-”

“Stop.” His voice was softly commanding. He reached out and took my hand. His eyes weren’t hurt now, but held understanding. “Please, give me five minutes someplace quiet.”

“Outside.”

We walked out of the club to the parking lot. Couples made out in the shadows and in their cars, or talked and laughed as they made plans for later or the next day. I turned and faced David.

“Okay… You’ve got five minutes. Go.”

“Amanda and I split up about a year ago.” At my look of utter shock he drew in a deep breath and blew it out. “I’m sorry. I thought you knew.” He shrugged. “Everybody we went to school with knew about it, so I figured you heard. Actually, I can’t believe nobody told you.”

“I moved here so I wouldn’t have to talk to any of them,” I said softly. “David, after you and Amanda got married, I gave up all our college friends.”

“Why?” He tried to pull me closer but I dropped his hands and maintained my distance.

“David… you know why.”

He hung his head, his shoulders slumping forward. He nodded and stuffed his hands in his pockets. Out here in the lights of the parking lot he looked even more beautiful than he did inside the club. His chest was broad with a well-defined musculature and glistened with sweat. I was sorely tempted to reach out and brush my hand through the hair on his chest to see if it felt as good as it looked, but I kept my hands to myself.

“Why are you still wearing your wedding ring?” I asked.

“Oh!” He looked down at his hand. “I wear it because of work. There’s a woman on my crew who won’t take the hint. She keeps her distance now that she thinks I’m married. I got so used to wearing it…” He shrugged and pulled it off, stuffing it in his pocket. I couldn’t help the thoughts in my head, that he was still lying his way through life, whether it was to a woman at his work or to our friends about our relationship.

“So…you’re divorced?” I pulled my shirt on and began buttoning it. My fingers felt huge and unwieldy.

“Yeah. It became final about six months ago. Amanda and I are still good friends; we talk almost every day.”

“Which is why when I asked how she was, you said she was good.”

“Right, and she is,” he said. “Our breakup was amicable enough.”

“What happened?” 

“I wanted kids. She agreed to consider it if I went to counseling sessions with her. So I went. You know, my dad was a drunk, unemployed, prejudicial jerk. I figured Amanda was worried about me having daddy issues. Imagine my surprise when we get in there and she starts talking about me being gay.” David’s voice was so bitter it stung my ears.

“Had you…” I forced myself to ask. “Had there been anyone during your marriage?”

The look he gave me was eloquent beyond words.

“Oh David…” I shook my head. “Why did you ever marry her?”

“I wanted a family, kids. I’ve always wanted that. I really thought the best way to get it was the old fashioned way, Will.” He looked back at the club, teeming with men. “Even if I had the occasional itch.”

“And the fact that you can’t stop scratching that itch? What did you think that was?” I didn’t know whether to be angry or just pity him.

“Look, can we get out of here? Go someplace a little more private than the parking lot of Roué to talk?”

I gazed at him. Even after three years of not seeing him I still loved him; I was still in love with him. And time after time he hurt me. The anger boiled to the surface. “David, what is it you want to talk to me about? I came here tonight to get laid, not to rehash old college days with a guy who used me and then dumped me because he wasn’t brave enough to admit he was queer. You want a quick fuck? I’m sure there are a dozen guys inside Roué who would be happy to go home with you who don’t have our history. I just got out of a relationship with a guy who did nothing but cheat on me, and I’m not interested in listening to a liar and a cheater.”

I turned to go back inside and never made it. He grabbed me by the belt loop and hauled me back. Now our bodies might line up exceedingly well, but David’s probably got about forty pounds on me – all of it muscle from the work he does. He used it to hold me to him. His scent, a combination of cologne and sweat, inundated my sinuses and my dick thumped against my zipper. Damn it.

“You done?” His voice was a growl in my ear, his arms corded steel as he held me caged against his hard, furred chest. “Yes, I’m gay. No, I don’t want a quick fuck. I want to talk to you about the future, ours. Yours and mine. Because the entire time I was with Amanda including every single guy I fucked around with, none of them compared to you. So you won’t be listening to a cheater, Will. I was faithful to you from day one, baby. Always.”

His head dropped down onto my shoulder and he sniffed at my neck. “Goddamn you smell amazing. I missed your smell so much.” His erection shoved into my hip so hard I was pretty sure I was going to have a bruise. “Please come home with me, Will.”

He kissed me then, the kind of kiss I’d forgotten two men could share. David lived and breathed passion into his work bringing old buildings back to life, and as his lips slowly moved on mine, he breathed life back into me, too. His tongue licked along the seam of my lips and then snuck inside to relearn my mouth, his hands caressing my back and my shoulders to slide down my arms. He conquered me bit by bit standing in the Roué parking lot, breaking down my resistance, and then, when I was nothing more than a quivering pile of raw nerve endings, he whispered it into my ear.

“I love you. I’ve always loved you. I never lied to you about that. Come home with me and make a home with me. Give me a reason to wear a ring again.”

So I did.

I made him toss that awful gold band. Ours are black titanium. We’ve been together for seven years now. David just finished restoring our house. Our daughter, Felicity, turned three in June. She’s precocious, loves to dance, and has David’s blue eyes. Her baby brother is due in April. We’re still arguing over names. David and I like Liam, but Felicity thinks he should be named Cheddar, after her favorite snack.

I never knew life could be this messy, or this good. But every day I’m grateful for David. He restored happiness and joy to my life, and filled the void I didn’t even know was there with the wonders of family. What began as the worst day of my life turned into paradise, and I have no regrets.

6 comments:

  1. I liked this because it was life-affirming. There is so much bleak out there (and I write enough of it myself) it's good to read a story about someone who has nearly given up on ever thinking he'll be happy again and turns out to be wrong. It's also romantic.

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  2. Love a determined heart!! David just couldn't give up, love that. Great story!

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  3. Awww. That was sweet. I loved it. I think they should totally go with Cheddar for their son, though. It's unique, and their daughter picked it. :P

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  4. I always love a good HEA romance. This story really left me feeling happy. I think that no matter what they name the baby, he's going to end up being called Cheddar by his big sister.

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  5. Sweet story, glad they got their HEA. However, I was really hoping for a hot sex scene. You are so great at writing those, especially in Dust and Ash. Shit, I feel like I am actually in the room watching them. But this weeks story was short and sweet and made me smile at the end. You are awesome.

    -Katie

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  6. Being a hopeless romantic, I absolutely loved it! Usually life never turns out how you want it to but in a story you get to put yourself in those shoes. For a little while, that love you have never let go of actually loves you back. I am a sucker for HEA's ~ it was great Tucker ;)

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