Content Warning: NSFW
“One of the best times for figuring out who you are and what you really want out of life? Right after a breakup.”Mandy Hale

“I didn’t know they made those anymore.”

The voice startled me from the confines of a novel I was reading and back into reality. My feet propped on a chair, I sat at a table in a coffee shop, a latte cooling beside me with the soft undertone of guitar music filtering in through the speakers surrounding us. I smiled disarmingly at the man standing there, a disposable cup in his hand with steam rising from the top. “Made what?” I asked, for the lack of a better thing to say.

He glanced from my eyes to my shoes and back again. In the second it took for him to manufacture a response, I stole a more appraising survey of him. His short, ginger hair accentuated the pale blue of his eyes and matched with the suit he wore in a flattering sort of way. If he’d been wearing a tie, he’d stripped it off and from the look of things, a slim, sculpted body lay beneath his clothes. The corners of his eyes wrinkled like Robert Redford’s when he smiled, making him look alluringly older.

“Those sneakers,” he said if the glance hadn’t made it obvious. The corners of his lips remained curled, amusement written all over his face. “Converse hi-tops?”

“Yeah.” Shutting my book, I placed it, cover side down, on top of the table. Somebody wearing what he was wearing probably didn’t read smutty, gay romance novels and even though I lacked shame most days, on occasion I knew my quirks could be a little ridiculous, even for me. I ran my fingers through the locks of brown which were getting a little too long on the top and suddenly wondered how I looked. He was a specimen of a man and I was little more than a tall, lanky ragamuffin with my jeans and t-shirt. Not even well-worn windbreaker draped across the back of my chair could redeem me. Still, I took a deep breath and didn’t let the words ‘out of my league’ enter my head. “They’re not that hard to find, but my mother keeps a steady stockpile of trainers in my size.”

“Trainers. I haven’t ever heard them called that.” He sipped from his cup. Black coffee. ‘Dark and strong, how I like my men,’ I thought idly.

I grinned, as much at the thought as the admission. “I think it’s a British term. I’ll admit, I’m an Anglophile. Have been that way ever since I was a teenager.”

“The… trainers… are very American, though.”

“Yeah, but one of the characters from my favorite TV show wore them. Ever see Doctor Who?”

“A few times. Old show, isn’t it?”

My grin broadened as I grew bolder. “People tell me I’m an old soul.”

He laughed and drifted toward one of the empty chairs. His free hand touched the back of it, but he didn’t motion to sit. “That’s usually one of those things people say when they’re trying to flirt with you,” he said as his fingers coiled around the cheap metal in his palm. “But I’m sure you get a lot of that.”

I shrugged. “It comes with the territory, I guess. I’m cocky enough of a bastard to eat it like candy.” I nodded toward the chair. “Take a seat. I’m not expecting anybody and suspect you might be the one trying to flirt with me this time.”

Another chuckle and he was sliding out the chair, weaving around to sit in a smooth, practiced motion. “Guilty as charged.” It took him mere moments to settle. The paper cup found its way onto the table, only inches away from my cheap paperback. “I’d ask if that was welcomed or not, but I saw the cover of that book before I said anything.” He glanced at the paperback and smirked.

I laughed, my eyes lowering to the ground self-consciously before I could stop myself. I felt a blush rise on my cheeks. “Guilty pleasure.”

“Lots of pleasure on that cover. I haven’t been with any guy who made that face.”

When our eyes met, we started laughing in unison, two peals of mirth weaving together and building to a crescendo. I thought briefly of synergy and the way it seemed one person’s energy fed another’s, but rather than escalating the mood, it only started darkening mine. I cleared my throat to mask it and nodded, forcing my laughter to dissipate so it didn’t cut out abruptly. “No, I haven’t either, but there’ve been a few times I wondered if I did.”

He snickered. “Expressive in the bedroom.”

“Wouldn’t you like to know?” I grinned devilishly.

A faint blush surfaced on his cheeks as well. He sunk into himself in a coy manner, one hand lifting to toy with his coffee cup.  Yet, he never lost his polish. “I usually like to start with names.”

“Names, I can do.” I extended a hand across the table. “William Dawes. They call me Wil.”

“Wil.” He nodded, reaching to shake hands. “My name’s Brian Mahoney. The business cards have a V in the middle of that.”

“A V? No shit?” Our palms touched, fingers clasped and lingering in a grip before brushing away. The feel of his fingertips on my skin almost made me shiver. I rested my elbow on the table rather than letting my arm fall to my side again. “Tell me yours and I’ll tell you mine,” I said, settling my chin in my hand.

His posture straightened. “Vincent.”

“Victor.” I couldn’t hold back the smile. “My father named me after his husband.”

“And they say being queer isn’t hereditary.” Brian winked.

I laughed. “If you knew my father, you’d know it isn’t. He’s just madly in love with Victor.”

“So, he’s straight with exceptions?” Brian shook his head, still grinning. “I’ll bet your mother loves that.”

“It’s sort of complicated. My family is…” I hesitated. Explaining where I came from couldn’t be bottled in a pithy comment and the last time I’d tried explaining it to anyone, I was called a drunken liar. It didn’t help that I was drunk at the time. “Well, they’re my family. Eccentric doesn’t cover it.”

“Ah, one of those.” Brian leaned back in his chair. His eyes never left mine.  “I come from a pretty normal family. Only child; father was an accountant and is now living off his life’s savings.”

“My father’s a writer and my mom’s a business woman. Victor’s a lawyer. We’ve got all kinds.”

“Lawyers.” Brian wrinkled his nose. “They only make my job harder.”

I leaned forward in my seat. My hand fell to rest atop my book. “And what job might that be?”

He chuckled, looking at me as though the answer might be embarrassing or intimidating. “I’m an investment banker.”

“How long have you had that gig?”

“Only a couple of years. Right out of college.”

“And here I thought those rugged good looks meant you were well past my level of maturity.” I winked. “Unless you mean grad school.”

“No, though I might still go for my master’s in finance.” His fingers caressed his coffee cup again. I suddenly envied it. “I take it that means you’re not as young as you look.”

“No jailbait here.” An impulse of bravado surged through me like a bolt of lightning. The hand resting on my book slid forward, covering the distance to Brian’s coffee cup. Slowly, my fingers touched the paper, creeping northward until they lightly brushed his. He straightened marginally but didn’t move his hand. “I’m twenty-one,” I said. “How ‘bout you?”

Brian swallowed hard. “Twenty-three. Just turned in February.” Our eyes remained locked, my fingers softly stroking while Brian stared at me unblinking. I thought he might finally pull away after a few seconds, but received a surprise as a thumb started moving and a hand shifted to cover mine. I expected shy arousal. The action read more of intimacy.

He smiled coyly, calling my bluff with his tone of voice. “Twenty-one,” he said. “I suppose that means you’re busy tonight. College man, no doubt?”

“Career man is more like it, but I’m off the clock.”

“What do you do, Wil?”

I chuckled lightly. “You wouldn’t believe me if I told you. Get me past a first date and I might try.”

His grin broadened, tempered, yet hopeful all at once. “Past a first date? You don’t normally go much further?”

“I’m the master of the one-night stand,” I said with a shrug.

“Why is that?” The smile faded, but only marginally. He read the cynicism in my eyes and I allowed myself a peek into his thoughts, hearing echoes of concern, as though he knew why I held myself at a distance from everyone.  It warmed my heart despite myself, that anyone would care about my relationship woes.

I couldn’t help but throw him a bone. “Want to try that first date, Brian? Haven’t had many people make it to the second.”

The grin resurfaced. “That sounds like a dare.”

“I love a good dare.”

“So do I.” Brian nodded and lifted his hand from mine. Standing, he pulled out his chair and gazed down at me in silence for the briefest of moments before cocking a thumb to the left. “There’s a Thai place, about four blocks from here. Excellent curry and it’s always on the quiet side. If you’re off the clock and have nothing better to do, I would be honored to have your company.”

I realized that our eyes were both searching; something settling in the air between us. Slowly, I stood. “I like Thai. Good guess.”

“Maybe you’ll let me have a few more.”

“Guesses?”

Brian nodded and smirked. “Yeah, guesses. Whatever you feel comfortable sharing.”

I nodded and rested a hand atop my book again. “You’ll tell me a bit more about you?”

“Whatever you want to know.”

“Wow.” Chuckling, I picked up my book and plucked my jacket from the chair. “This does sound like an official date. Alright, then, lead the way, my liege. It’s been a while.”

Brian laughed and walked ahead to the exit, leaving his coffee abandoned on the table. My own lukewarm latte became a distant memory, replaced by the observation that Brian had one of the nicest asses I’d ever seen. Only one guy had a better one, but thinking about him threatened to darken my mood again. Yeah, I’d been playing the field more than I should have been, I admitted to myself, and couldn’t blame it all on a broken heart.

Maybe it was time to move on and date again.

If Brian picked up on my pensiveness, he never let on.  I assumed a place by his side and he flashed a disarming grin. “I know I’m hedging my bets that this date will go well, but I must be in a daring mood,” he said as he glanced over at me. The energy between us ignited again, in something I could have envisioned being a sultry crimson shade if such things could be seen. The supernatural power I harnessed often looked an iridescent gold-and-green, flaring closer to orange when I was enraged. Fire, but not quite. This, however, was the color of romance and lust.

Brian cleared his throat, as though trying to ignore it himself. “But where are you from?” he asked.

“That’s a safe enough question,” I said. “Las Vegas, born and bred, until I turned eighteen. Then, I headed out here. You?”

“Minnesota. The Twin Cities, if that means anything to you. Left home at eighteen, too, to start school at the University of Washington.”

“What made you come all the way out here?”

Brian shrugged. A small crowd of twenty-somethings wove around us on the sidewalk, headed in the opposite direction. “I needed to be away from home. My parents… They’re accepting and all, but I saw the disappointment in their eyes every time someone brought up grandchildren.”

I couldn’t help but chuckle. “They’ve never heard of adoption?”

“Well, they have, but you know how parents are,” Brian said with a shrug. He motioned with his hands as he spoke. “It’s one thing to say, ‘I can’t have kids because my wife’s barren.’ It’s another thing when they’re telling their friends, ‘Brian’s gay. Maybe he and his partner will adopt.’”

Our eyes met and my smile softened.  A slight drift of our bodies brought us closer together. “I wish I could say I know what you mean, but I’ve been lucky. The whole ‘progressive family’ thing lessens the pressure on me. Nobody has any expectations.”

“Do you have any siblings?”

“Yes, two half siblings. A sister named Karyn and a brother named Kieran.”

“Well, there you have it. They know if you’re not interested in kids that your siblings might be.” He winked and, before I could respond, pointed at a store front with neon lights in the window and a red awning leading to a glass door. “That’s the place. The food is excellent, but if you’re going to drink, stick with the American beers. The imports are a little… dodgy.”

I watched as his smile broadened and laughed when he jogged ahead to open the door. With a sweeping bow, he pointed inward and bent at the waist just enough to make the entire action look chivalrous. I walked ahead of him, but paused in the entryway, turning to look at him again. “Dodgy, eh? And you’d never heard of the term trainers?”

“I know a few things,” he said with a wink. The amused expression on his face mirrored how I must have looked. “Let’s get a seat and you can tell me your thoughts on children.”

“Getting a little ahead of yourself, there, Brian,” I said with a wink.

He strolled up to a woman seated behind a podium. “It’s been a good night so far. But you can stop me if I start picking out curtains.”

“It’s a deal.”

The curl of his lips could only be described as mischievous, and after we’d been shown our seats and placed our orders, he and I were left alone to continue talking. I spent several moments taking in the interior of the restaurant and letting my eyes drift across lit candles on tabletops and the stereotypical Asian décor. Finally, I ordered a beer and forced myself to relax into the conversation.

He spoke of his childhood in Minnesota, and when asking me more about my upbringing made me uncomfortable, I ordered another drink and focused on asking the questions rather than fielding the responses. For a while, it felt refreshing, hearing what a normal childhood encompassed and I lost myself in an alternate reality where I didn’t fight monsters and didn’t have some calling hanging over my head which cut my teenage years dreadfully short. By the time we finished our meal, I had a good buzz and a sunnier disposition on life.

Brian wiped his mouth and set his napkin down on his now-emptied plate. I polished off the remainder of my third beer and smirked at him as he grinned back at me. “So, have I earned the right to know what you do for a living yet?” he asked, resting his elbow on the table.

I chuckled and set the empty beer bottle down. “Are you asking that or if you’ve earned the right to a second date?”

“Maybe both.” Brian shrugged. “Though I’m quite happy with how this one’s going so far.”

“I am, too, actually.” The admission was more of a slip of a tongue than I’d intended. That was the only problem with liquor; it made me more loose-lipped than I normally preferred.  My facial expression didn’t waver, though, and neither did my smile as it remained disarming and playful as ever. I said, “I can think of ways it might improve,” while feeling the beginning of an internal debate. When would I push him away and convince myself it was for his own well-being?

Maybe after dessert.

He shifted but didn’t look away. The glint in his eyes turned serious, with an undertone of seduction in the way they held me. “I have an amazing bottle of Scotch back at my apartment. I can’t let just anybody in there, though,” he said.

My smile faded, given over to the same deliberate expression. “An amazing bottle of Scotch, eh?” Lifting my leg under the table, I let my calf graze him in a taunting fashion. “My father drinks Scotch. One of the best kinds made. How can I be sure yours is worth the disclosure?”

I felt his knee shift forward and nudge my leg back, answering the challenge. “I doubt your father’s Scotch comes with a tour of my place.”

“Not typically speaking, no,” I said, breaking the dance with a light-hearted chuckle. It passed within a few seconds, though, and I slid in my seat enough to press my knee against his inner thigh. “You really want to know what I do?”

Brian swallowed hard. “That’s becoming a loaded question.”

“Might need to be unloaded.” The way he tensed forced a bolt of arousal straight to my crotch, which was surprisingly unencumbered given how much I’d been drinking. I saw vision after erotic vision plaguing my thoughts and couldn’t think straight enough to decide what to say that wouldn’t come off sounding like a load of bullshit. I finally settled on, “I’m a bodyguard. I know it sounds silly, but I can’t tell you any more than that. The people I work for are sort of… secretive.”

He laughed, then blushed at the abrupt way the sound forced itself past his lips. “I’m sorry. You don’t look like much of a bodyguard.”

I tsked. “And you haven’t even seen the package underneath yet.”

“No, you’re right. I haven’t.” He smirked. “Must be a pretty fine package.”

Sitting upright again, I broke contact in favor of leaning forward in my seat, inching closer to his face with mine, until my mouth hovered over his. I stopped before our lips could even brush and smiled. “Funny, I was thinking the same thing about you, Brian.”

I could smell his breath, our meal still latent with a hint of the beer he’d indulged in as well. It hitched when we came close to touching and this time, no amount of polish or willpower could’ve held back the shiver running from tip to the base of his spine. His Adam’s apple bobbed and, from the corner of my eye, I saw him grip onto the edge of the table. “You have… the greenest eyes I’ve ever seen,” he whispered.

My grin turned sardonic despite myself. “If you think they’re impressive, you should see the rest of me.” I slid from the table before he could plunge in for the kill and rose to my feet in such a swift motion, he jumped when I stood beside where he sat. He laughed when he caught himself and stood, reaching into his pocket for his wallet without looking away and throwing a couple of bills onto the table without pausing to see how much he paid. We left the restaurant, bringing the aura of lust with us right out the door.

Brian didn’t live very far away. I discovered as we walked, that he enjoyed the University area too much to depart when he finished college. He talked about the quick commute into downtown with a distracted air and I only grinned knowingly, observing I lived close myself in return. He didn’t pry any further, which suited me just fine as I was done revealing myself to a stranger, someone I knew could coax the secrets of my soul if I let him. ‘Keep it carnal,’ I told myself and it worked.

Until we made it to his apartment.

The lights remained off. The sun was dipping in the horizon, casting a glow across the living room which made it look as though it was on fire. Brian threw his keys down on an end table and drifted closer, his hand settling on my chest and sliding up to my shoulder. I guessed him to be four or five inches shorter and the height difference only made it harder for my crumbling self-restraint when his chest pressed against mine. “God, I want to kiss you,” Brian murmured, tilting his head upward. His lips parted, and his lids drifted shut enough for the invitation to be clearly stated, left for my appraisal.

One of my hands touched his waist. It slid around to his back and when I pulled him closer, I felt the distinctive bulge in his pants dig into my leg. His fingers gripped onto the back of my neck and when our mouths met, the kiss we indulged turned needy and frantic from the start. I bent at the waist enough to keep our lips tangled and narrowly avoided a brown, leather couch as I pushed him back and closer to a long and narrow hallway. His back hit a wall before we could make it to the corridor and one leg tangled around my hip to hold me into place. I groaned and reached for the buttons of his shirt.

The fabric parted with haste. The shirt became a distant memory after he tore his arms free from the sleeves and threw it onto the ground. Grabbing for the bottom of my t-shirt, he lifted it over my head and it joined his on a forming pile on his floor. I kicked off my trainers as he kicked off a pair of expensive dress shoes and his fingers found the buttons of my fly as mine found his belt. Neither of us seemed to want to draw this out and I willingly stepped out of my jeans as he tossed his pants aside. Clad only in boxers and briefs, the thinnest layer of cotton separated us from complete nakedness.

Brian’s hands both found my chest, his fingers working across the sinew of my torso and tracing the muscle of my upper arms. He kissed at my skin as though wanting to devour me, and the mental image of a vampire set to feed rang close to home at the nips he stole along the way. He took one of the nubs of my pecks in his mouth and I drew a sharp breath inward, exhaling with a moan when he clamped down. My cock jumped in anticipation. I ran my hands along his body for the lack of a better thing to do with them, until I dipped into the waistband of his briefs and found the arousal waiting underneath.

He pulled away to moan. I wrapped my fingers around his length and stroked, establish a slow, teasing rhythm while my lips captured his again. His tongue thrust into my mouth and we indulged a long series of tawdry kisses while his hand found my bulge and started stroking in return. We might have continued, and gotten off like this, if not for Brian. He suddenly stopped and broke the union of our lips. “Bedroom,” he said. “I have the condoms and lube there.”

I nodded, not apt to argue. Rather than breaking away, though, Brian pushed me away and wrapped his arms around me, turning my back to face the hallway and leading us down the corridor. Our mouths met in the briefest of connections several times until we entered a dark room and my knees hit the base of a bed. I lowered myself onto it, creeping backward to keep my eyes on him. When my hungry gaze found his cock, I licked my lips and removed my boxers and my socks, not wanting a shred of clothing on my bare skin.

Thoughts of needing to feel our bodies pressed together replaced thoughts of his length plunging into me, though. The brief pause in activity gave Brian a chance to study me and, through the darkness, I saw him evaluate me with more than lust evident in his eyes. Our gaze converged and as Brian settled himself on top, our lips met in a much more passionate tenor, the embrace bordering on spiritual with how deep it penetrated my psyche. I trembled slightly and let him lower me completely onto the mattress, my hands settling on his back, my fingertips digging into him as though not willing to let him go anywhere. He bit my bottom lip and smiled, whispering, “I’ll be right back, handsome,” and I could only nod. I felt naked, and not merely from the lack of clothing.

I didn’t watch him pull out the accessories. Didn’t bother telling him the lube was a nice touch, but unnecessary, because then I’d have to follow that up by telling him how comfortable I’d had to become with pain in my line of work. I waited for him to return and when he did, he wasted no time in stating his intentions. I loved that he didn’t ask if he could be on top; he asserted himself and pressed his fingers into my opening without asking for permission. I felt the slickness of the lubricant but shuddered when his fingers curled and hit the sweetest spot a human had ever managed to hit. My eyes rolled back and my voice cried for more, sounding detached as though something had taken over my thoughts and was forcing a series of noises from my mouth. His fingers left, but then his body returned and just as our lips met, his cock eased into me.

He started slow but ended the thrust with a final, sharp push. I broke the kiss to groan. He eased back and his hands settled on my legs, forcing them onto his shoulders as he took me with dire urgency. The bed rocked and the sound of flesh slapping together competed with the profanity flying from my mouth as he moved faster and thrust harder. I felt the tip of my length weep and clenched my eyes shut to stop the impending orgasm. It became a losing battle, though, when he called out my name and said, “Now, Wil… Shit… Now.”

I screamed, eyes flying open and back arching while ropes of come flew across my chest. He never broke rhythm, but I lost myself in the undeniable pleasure as his cock continued hitting the sweet spot. He held the erection long enough for my climax to finish, then slowed and finally stopped when he saw I’d relaxed into the bed. Noticing as an afterthought that I’d been clawing his comforter, I chuckled and loosened my grip just as he slid out from inside of me. His departure provoked a groan. I faintly heard a trash bag rustle from something being deposited but hadn’t established my hold on reality enough to acknowledge it any further.

I did, however, notice when Brian returned. He smiled devilishly and licked up the length of my softening cock, up to my chest as though bent on cleaning me up. The corner of my mouth curled upward and one hand settled on his head, fingers tangling in the ginger locks. Something about his actions looked reverent, and something about the kiss it ended with felt more heartfelt than decadent. He pulled away and grinned at me and I couldn’t help but mirror his grin. It was the best sex I’d had in a while.

I didn’t think about the last time I’d had sex like that. My mind remained blissfully lost in the hum of afterglow while Brian settled on my side and stroked my skin with his fingers. I didn’t argue when he suggested watching a movie and succumbed to a second round when the movie had finished. As our spent bodies fell onto the bed, I felt Brian curl around me and held him out of impulse.

Brian rested his head on my shoulder. “You’re welcome to stay, but don’t have to, Wil.”

Grinning lazily, I shook my head. “My roommate will wonder, but she’s probably off seeing to her own needs.”

“She?” Brian chuckled and nipped at my shoulder. “Shacking up with a woman, you naughty man.”

Laughing, I let my fingers tangle in his hair again and stroked it because it felt good to do so. “She’s like a sister to me. And she’s a lesbian. It sort of works. More like having a best friend who just happens to be in the same business.” I winced visibly at the slip of my tongue and nearly sighed with relief when Brian failed to notice.

Instead, his body settled into mine. Our first night together and Brian had found my Achilles Heel. Cuddling. “You can call her if you need to.”

“Nah, Becka’ll be alright.” My eyes shut, unable to fight the urge. “And your bed’s too fucking comfortable. There should be a law against this.”

Brian chuckled softly but didn’t respond. Within moments, I heard him snoring lightly and grinned while feeling sleep nip at my heels as well. There were a million thoughts threatening to break through my subconscious and while they remained at bay for sleep, in the morning they were waiting, as they always were. My muscles felt tight, my head felt dizzy, and my shoulders felt heavy as they did all too often those days. Still, I couldn’t deny how good of a night I’d had with Brian.

Maybe, I told myself, I’d give him that second date after all.

This story is one of a collection of “chapbooks” I sell at my convention appearances. Click here to sign up for my mailing list, and you’ll receive this story and five others as a free download.