#SuperShort

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I know that today isn’t Friday. Don’t worry, I haven’t hit my head and mixed up the days. But I wrote a Valentine’s Day story about two characters you know by now, and it seemed silly not to post it on actual V-day. Right?

So without further ado, here’s the story about Lenny and JJ’s Valentine’s Day. And as you hopefully know by know, Lenny and JJ first showed up in my holiday story The Christmas Day Date. We’ve also met them another time, on New Year’s Eve.

I hope you enjoy, and Happy Valentine’s Day everyone…if you celebrate it. Happy Wednesday if you don’t! 🙂

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The Valentine’s Day Date

I stared at myself in the mirror. I looked so different and yet the same. My hair was slicked back from my face, gathered in a neat bun at the back of my head, and my stubble was more closely shaved than usual. My eyelid was as droopy as ever, but for once I didn’t care about that. Instead, I focused on what I wore.

A suit.

I, Lenny Painter, wore a suit.

I’d found it in a second-hand store the other day and been attracted to it immediately. It was in great shape and of excellent quality, but because it was outdated—the seventies called and wanted their fashion back—it hadn’t set me back more than twenty bucks. It was charcoal gray with low-slung, bellbottom pants and a tight-fitting coat. Underneath, I wore a light blue shirt, and if the color had reminded me of JJ’s eyes when I’d seen it in the store, I was the only one who knew.

Technically the suit should have been a disaster on me. But somehow it worked wonders for my body; it made the slight pout of my stomach disappear and clung to all the right places. My legs looked like they went on for miles, and more than once I’d turned my back to the mirror, stood on my toes, and admired the way my ass looked in the pants. I had a hard time believing it could look that tight and…hot.

I looked…good enough…for the evening. I hoped JJ would think so, too.

My phone beeped as I walked out of the bathroom.

Have a great night. Remember what I’ve taught you and you’ll be fine. I’ll bring my phone everywhere until you give me the all clear. The message was followed by a winky-face emoji.

A smile broke out on my face. Ella. How the fuck had I been so lucky to meet her that day in early January when I’d gone to my first AA meeting? When she’d stood to talk, wearing a patch over her left eye, and had introduced herself with her best pirate imitation, the entire room had burst out laughing. The eye thing had made me feel weirdly connected to her and after working up my courage by drinking three cups of the crappy coffee they served, I’d approached her.

We’d hit it off like a house on fire, and at first, I’d been surprised. But I figured sometimes even a washed-up ex-drunk like me had to be lucky and for once fate had picked the right moment for me.

K. Can’t thank u enough, I wrote back before stuffing the phone into my pocket. Stopping at the front door for a second before heading out, I took a deep breath and held it in my lungs. I counted to thirty before letting it out again, straightened my shoulders, and just like that, I was ready.

I locked the door behind me and took a couple quick steps across the hall. Without hesitation, I knocked but didn’t have to wait before the door flew open and revealed a worried-looking JJ.

His hand flew to his throat as he saw me and he dragged his gaze up and down my body, leaving tingles in its wake. I fingered the hem of my jacket, trying my hardest not to fidget as the seconds dragged out into what felt like hours, and doubt niggled in the back of my mind.

“Wow, Lenny,” he whispered. Finally. “You look…” He didn’t finish what he was gonna say. Instead, he stepped into my space, cupped my cheeks with careful fingers, and looked straight into my eyes. “Wow,” he repeated. Then he leaned in and stole my breath with a scorching kiss.

His lips were soft yet demanding against mine. His fingers danced along my jaw as he scraped his fingernails in my stubble. The worry disappeared out of my head as his tongue begged to be let into my mouth. I opened willingly to him and couldn’t help humming into his mouth. I grabbed his hip and squeezed as warmth spread in my tummy and my pants grew tight.

A whimper escaped me when he ended the kiss, but he didn’t move away. His breath tickled my cheek and he pressed his pelvis against me. I gulped down the air as his hardness pressed against mine.

“You look stunning,” he whispered.

“Yeah?”

“Oh, yes.” He ran his hand down my arm and wove his fingers with mine. Then he took a step back. “What’s going on? Why are we dressed up?” he asked.

“I…” I squeezed his hand and cleared my throat. I’d calmed down enough to register what he was wearing and forgot whatever it was I was going to say as.

I couldn’t take my eyes off him. His pinstriped suit, light gray shirt, and lavender tie made him look more gorgeous than ever. He was pink around his lips as if my stubble had rasped his sensitive skin, and the sight made my dick press harder against my zipper. Shit. He’d be sexy in an oil-stained coverall, but like this, he was magnificent.

Swallowing hard, I leaned in and pressed a kiss to his cheek. “I’m takin’ you out on a date,” I said.

“Out?” he squeaked.

His surprise wasn’t unexpected. We’d spent lots of time together these last weeks, but all of it had been in either of our apartments. Mostly in his home, where we’d cooked, cuddled on the couch in front of a movie, or made love for hours and hours. We’d never gone anywhere outside our building together. That was changing tonight. “Yeah,” I answered simply.

“Okay.” His eyes were full of questions, but as usual, he didn’t ask them. Instead, he grabbed his keys and followed me to my car. Patient. Wating for me to be ready to tell him at my own speed. He really was fucking perfect.

Except for early in the morning before coffee. He was a terrible grump before coffee.

We drove in silence, but I could feel his eyes on me the entire ride. He rested his hand on my thigh and drew small circles with his fingers. Occasionally, he squeezed. At a traffic light, I put my hand over his as we waited for it to turn green. That simple touch made my entire body buzz with electricity.

When I pulled up in front of the restaurant—Nonna Giulia’s because his favorite food was Italian—he gasped and opened his mouth to speak, but was interrupted by the valet.

He didn’t say a word until I’d handed over the keys and we were alone. “What are we doing here?” he asked in a faint voice full of worry.

“Havin’ dinner.” I smiled at him, hoping it looked confident. I felt confident. Sort of. If my dry mouth didn’t count.

“But…” He stepped closer and spoke close to my ear as if he wanted to make sure no one could hear what he said. “They serve…alcohol here.”

I brushed a speck of dust from his lapel and made sure his tie was straight. “I know.”

“But…how?”

I stopped fiddling and took his hands in mine. Looked him straight in the eye. “I want to take you out on a real date. Like normal people do on Valentine’s day. I wanna be someone you can be proud of.” My voice quavered, but I kept going. “I have Ella on speed dial and she’d only let me go if I promised to call her if the shit hits the fan.” I squeezed his hands quickly before I let them go and fished out my phone. After pulling up Ella’s message I gave it to him so he could read it.

His gaze flitted between my phone and my face before he stuffed it back into my pocket. “I’d be perfectly fine to have our date at home.” He tugged on my hand as if he wanted to lead me away from the restaurant. “Please, let’s go home.” He pulled harder.

“Julius.” My pleading tone stilled his movements and I slid my hand around his neck. Standing so close our noses almost touched, I spoke in a hushed voice. “You have no idea how much I appreciate you lookin’ out for me.” My other hand found its way under his jacket and I rested it on his slim waist. “How fuckin’ lucky I feel that you wanna be with me. You mean so much to me. I don’t wanna be a stupid coward and risk losin’ you. I need to get over my issues…and not just for you, but…for me?”

I hoped he’d get it. Heck, I don’t even know if I did, but Ella had drilled into my thick skull that I needed to do this for myself and not for someone else. My talk of how gorgeous my boyfriend was hadn’t swayed her one bit.

He nodded and a cautious smile spread on his narrow face. We stood so close I could see a smudge on his glasses. A happy sparkle in his eyes. “I have conditions,” he said.

“Name them.”

He held up an index finger. “One. I don’t drink.”

I chuckled. “Only you would set rules for yourself.”

His smile widened. “Shut up.” He smacked a kiss on my lips. “Number two.” He held up another finger and his face grew serious. “You tell me the second you feel anxious and we’re out of here.”

I pulled back my hand from his waist and rubbed my droopy eyelid. Of course, he’d understood completely. How could I have thought otherwise? “Yeah, okay.” Tears burned in my throat and I had to swallow to keep them from erupting. “Anything else?”

He pulled me close, flush to his body, until we touched from chest to knees. “One more thing.”

“Anything, Julius. I’d do anythin’ for you.”

“I want a kiss before dinner.”

I happily obliged.

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#SuperShort

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Until a couple hours ago, I thought there wouldn’t be a #SuperShort this Friday either. I’ve had a terrible week; my dad has been very sick and spent several nights in the ICU. For a while, I thought I’d have to jump on a plane and fly to Sweden and see him, in case he wouldn’t…you know. I’ve been so worried and unable to focus on anything. But now he’s actually feeling better and will most likely be released from the hospital this weekend, and suddenly my mind started working again.

So here it is. A little later than usual – to be honest it’s actually Saturday here in Malaysia (it’s a few minutes after midnight) – but better late than never, right?

I’ve used the words that was left to me in the comments two weeks ago: cherry – cupcake – poppycock – bloodshed, and written part 3 of Alan and Jon’s story.

Here are parts 1 and 2 if you need to get up to speed.

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With gentle fingers, I plucked the rose from his hand. “You brought me a flower?”

His cheeks grew even redder and took on the color of cherries. “Um, yeah?”

“Thank you.” I smiled at him, I could practically feel myself beaming like the sun. “It’s beautiful!”

He stepped into the house. “You, uh, like it?”

I nodded eagerly. “No one’s ever bought me flowers before.” I shut the door behind him and led him into the kitchen. I gestured for him to sit at the breakfast bar as I rummaged through my cupboards for something to put the flower in. Finally, I chose a tall glass and after pouring some water into it, I put it on the counter. “I thought we could have a cup of tea. And cheesecake.”

“Oh man,” he groaned.

“You don’t like cheesecake?”

“I love cheesecake. But I had cupcakes for lunch, so I’m gonna have to run double my usual distance tomorrow or I’ll get fat.” He patted his stomach that was flat and enticing and so far from fat it wasn’t funny.

That’s what you’ve been doing before strutting around half naked outside, driving me crazy?” I blurted out and Jon burst out laughing. A booming sound that filled my kitchen with loud happiness.

Shit shit shit, did I just say that? I flipped the switch on the tea kettle and tried to act as if I wasn’t the biggest idiot on earth, but my cheeks flamed hotter than the sun.

“Sooooo, I drive you crazy?” He waggled his eyebrows, crossed his hands behind his neck and leaned backward. His shirt slipped up a little and revealed just a sliver of skin, but it was enough to make my throat dry up. His cocky grin from that morning made a comeback.

I covered my eyes with my hand, not trusting myself to stop staring at him unless I made it impossible to look. “Cupcakes for lunch, huh?” I asked in a desperate attempt to change the subject. “What’s the occasion?” I removed the hand and straightened.

He took mercy on me and backed off the teasing. “One of my coworkers had a baby. She came to the office to show him off today and she brought cupcakes with baby-blue icing.”

“How very gender normative of her.” I poured the hot water into the cups, put them on the breakfast bar, and stepped over to the fridge to retrieve the cheesecake.

“If you ask me, that kind of stuff a load of poppycock.”

I looked over the fridge door with a raised eyebrow. “Poppycock? Really? I would have pegged you more for a ‘crap’ kind of guy.” I added a smile to show him I was joking.

“That should teach you to stereotype people.” He returned my smile. “Besides, I like the sound of the word.”

After putting everything out and helping him pick a tea, I joined him. “Was it a cute baby?” I groaned internally. Why had I asked that? As if I cared about a baby I would probably never meet.

Jon shrugged. “Eh, it was a baby. But the way the women fawned over him, you’d think he was the new Messiah or something.” He blew on his cup before taking a small sip. A content hum slipped out and he drank some more.

“Yeah, women tend to do that.” Seriously, Alan George White, change the subject already. Stop talking about babies! But my brain refused to cooperate; it was probably too overwhelmed by being in the same room as Jon the Hot Neighbor.

I snuck a glance at him. Damn, he was fine, even fully clothed. His shirt didn’t leave much to the imagination, but maybe that was because I’d seen him without it so many times? I wanted to reach out and touch him. Run my hand over his chest and down his stomach and—

“You’re right about that. For a moment, I feared for the little guy. I was seriously afraid they’d start clawing each other’s eyes out over whose turn it was to hold him next. I’m thinking the boss wouldn’t have been too happy over the bloodshed.”

Huh? What was he talking about? Oh right. “Why are we still talking about babies, Jon?” My voice was hoarse and told the story about where my mind had been.

He put down his cup and inched his stool closer to me. “I don’t know.” I couldn’t take my eyes off his hand resting on the countertop. He had long, thick fingers with tufts of hair on the knuckles. I bet those hands would feel glorious as they explored my body.

“Are your mind in the gutter again?” His amusement was obvious, but it didn’t feel like he was teasing me.

“Uh-huh.”

“I’ve never met anyone with such an expressive face as yours. You must have been terrible at keeping secrets when you were a kid.”

“You have no idea.” Hesitantly, I reached out my hand and rested my fingers on top of his. He was warm and his skin was softer than it looked.

Jon moved even closer. “You’re too cute for your own good.”

“And you’re hot.” Seriously. Someone needed to duct tape my mouth shut.

He turned his hand over and entwined our fingers. “I’m glad you think so.” He took a deep breath. “Does that mean you wanna go on another date with me?”

My gaze flew to his face. His eyes were earnest, but his mouth was set in an uncertain smile. The juxtaposition of the cockiness and the nervousness he displayed fascinated me. I would have thought that it would be one or the other, but he was a lovely mixture of both.

“I’d love to,” I answered.

He smiled at me, and we picked up our mugs and drank our tea in a companionable silence. When my cup was empty, I rested my head on his shoulder. “You’re nothing like I thought you’d be,” I murmured.

“Is that a good or a bad thing?”

“It’s a very good thing.”

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Next week, I’m doing things a little differently. The #SuperShort will be posted on Wednesday – Valentine’s Day – instead of Friday and it won’t feature Alan and Jon, but a couple other guys you’ll recognize if you’re a frequent visitor to my blog. But if you’re really lucky, Alan and Jon might come back. No promises though 🙂

Happy weekend everyone.

#SuperShort

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This week, I’m using the words my dear friend Addison gave me in the comments two weeks back for my flash fiction story:

reprehensible – mirror – floppy – branch – glory

And I’m also continuing the story of Alan and Jon, the guys from last week’s flashfic. When we left them, Jon had invited himself to Alan later that evening for a cup of coffee. Curious about what happens next? 😁

Read the first part of their story here.

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Coffee Date with My Hot Neighbor

I’ll be over at seven.

My hot neighbor’s—Jon, his name was Jon—words from this morning rattled around in my brain as I stood in front of the bathroom mirror trying my best to tame my blond, floppy bangs. I dipped my finger in the wax and applied a little more and for a second it looked as if it was going to stay where I wanted it, but then it crashed down over my eye again. I sighed. That would have to be good enough, it seemed.

My stomach clenched, and I frowned. What had Jon meant, exactly, when he’d said he was coming over for coffee? Had he meant for us to actually have a cup of black death tar with a side of conversation? As in a date? Where I had to ask him about his favorite color and most importantly: remember to talk? Or had coffee been a metaphor for something else? I tapped my lower lip with my index finger, and grimaced at the taste of hair wax. Maybe something less innocent? Something involving me bent over my couch, with his thick…tree branch stuffed deep in my glory hole?

“Holy smokes, Batman,” I muttered and shook my head. This was not going to end well. If I couldn’t stop perving over his body parts—weird, un-sexy nicknames and all—for more than five seconds, I was definitely going to be guilty of that reprehensible immoral behavior all gays displayed according to my less than accepting family.

The thought of my parents definitely took care of my over-eager libido and risked scaring my…tree branch—seriously what was wrong with my brain?—into hiding for a long time. Maybe forever.

I shook off the ickiness and gave myself a final inspection, rising on my toes to be able to take in my appearance in the bathroom mirror. A pair of shorts showing off my runner’s legs and a polo shirt making the blue of my eyes pop was nice enough to be dating clothes if that’s what this was, but not too nice if their purpose was to be ripped off me as soon as the door closed behind Jon.

I couldn’t decide which option I hoped for. He was hotter than Death Valley, and I’d spent a considerable amount of time perving on him. But in general, I wasn’t Mr. Hook-Up. Usually, I preferred to actually getting to know a person before jumping into bed with them.

Heaving out a sigh so deep the air expelled from my lungs made my bangs flutter, I turned my back to the mirror and walked out to the kitchen.

Everything was already prepared for his arrival. I’d filled the kettle with water, put out my favorite mugs, and a few different kinds of tea to choose from. A glance around the kitchen confirmed it was spotless, but I brushed some invisible crumbs off the counter anyway. Then I turned my nervous energy to the tea tins and nudged them until they stood in a straight line. One of the lids had a smudge and I rubbed at it with my thumb until it was gone. I twisted a couple of them, making sure the name of the tea would be visible and easy to read.

A loud beep and vibration sounded behind me and I jumped, jerked my arm, and accidentally hit a tin with a flapping hand. It tumbled over the edge of the counter, clanked down on the floor, and made my heart shoot up in my throat. The tin rolled a little before stopping, and the silence that followed the sudden commotion thundered in my ears.

Shit.

I sank down to the floor and pressed a palm to my chest as if to contain my heart that slammed furiously against my ribcage. At least if I had a heart attack—caused by a message on my freaking cell phone—I wouldn’t have to worry about seeing Jon and wondering if tonight was a date or not.

Maybe I should have said no when he invited himself over? I really wasn’t made for casual encounters or flings with hot neighbors. How had I not remembered that about myself? Had I been so busy drooling over his lightly furred chest and the alluring V of his hips that I’d forgotten who I was? Checking him out behind the curtain had just been an innocent morning thing. I’d never meant for him to find out. Or for anything to come of it.

My heart found its normal rhythm, and I reached for the fallen tin before jumping to my feet. I needed to tell him. I’d invite him in, offer him tea and the cheesecake I’d bought on my way home from work, but if he wanted something else, something involving the two of us naked, I would decline. I’d probably regret it for the rest of my life, but so be it.

And just like that, all the nervousness evaporated, and I could breathe again.

As I put the tea tin back next to the others on the counter, the doorbell rang. A quick peek at my watch told me he was right on time. Calmly, I strode through my house and opened the door.

Unlike this morning, he was wearing a shirt, and his cocky grin was nowhere to be seen. “Hi,” he said with a cautious, shaky smile. His eyes shone with uncertainty.

“Hi!” I smiled back at him, hoping to set him at ease. Funny how I seemed to be the calm one. What a difference a few seconds made. Opening the door wide, I stepped to the side. “Please, come in.”

He bounced on his toes and caught his lower lip between his teeth. Was he nervous?

“Um, I…” Redness stained his cheeks as he pulled his hand from behind his back where he’d kept it hidden. “I brought you this,” he said and held out the gift to me.

It was a single, long-stemmed, pink rose.

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All right. Hit me with a few more words…and if you’re really lucky (and choose nice, easy words) you might get to read more about Alan and Jon next week! 😊

 

 

#SuperShort

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Last week, I asked for words for this weeks Flash Fiction story, and I got five of them in the comments of my post: reprehensible, mirror, floppy, branch, glory. Thing is, life got in the way of plans and threw an unexpected trip to Singapore my way. I was away Tuesday to Thursday and was too busy enjoying myself to come up with something. And when I remembered, I wanted to make it easy for myself, so scrolled through the pictures I’ve saved on my phone that I’ve seen and thought Huh, I could write something about that. And I ended up using one of those.

So I’ll keep the words. I’ve got no trips planned for next week, and will have more time to think about them and come up with something.

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I didn’t bring my computer to Singapore so I had to start writing the story the old fashioned way: with paper and pen. With a view over Singapore from the 53rd floor, it was easy to get distracted, but I managed to finish it eventually. I hope you enjoy.

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Spying on My Hot Neighbor

It was five minutes past eight and I stood at my usual post by my kitchen window, holding a cup of steaming tea with my eyes trained on my neighbor’s porch. Halfway hidden behind the curtains, I felt like the nosy elderly woman who used to live next to my parents when I was a kid. I’d always found her kind of creepy and wondered if she’d thought we couldn’t see her behind her sheer old-lady curtains.

And still. Here I was, doing the same thing. Spying on my neighbor.

In my defense, he was hot. Set-fire-to-my-briefs kind of hot.

I sipped my tea as I glanced at my watch. Eight-oh-seven. Any second now. I took a tiny step to the side, so the fabric wouldn’t block my view too much. Tilted my head. Held my breath.

The seconds slowed down to a crawl. Dragged out to infinity. My lungs started burning but I didn’t take a breath. I just stood there, as still as if I’d been cut out of a slab of marble.

Until his door was thrown open and he burst out onto his porch. My breath whooshed out of me and I felt lightheaded, but I couldn’t tell if it was because of a lack of oxygen or if it was the sight of him that made me woozy.

With a cup of something steaming in his hand—I bet it was coffee, he looked like a guy who’d drink the black death tar—and hair still damp from a shower, he gazed up in the sky, scrunching up his face at the summer sun shining brightly down on him. But his cute face wasn’t what caught my attention. It was his strong arms and his chest that only wore a dusting of light brown hair and nothing else. His abs. And the V of his hips that pointed to…

I swallowed. His shorts hung even lower today than yesterday and the day before that. How did they even stay up? Was he trying to drive me crazy?

As I watched him drink from his cup and scratch his chest, I squeezed my thighs together and moaned. My jeans were growing uncomfortably tight as blood rushed from my head to…my other head. I pulled the curtain more to the side, eager to drink in all of him.

He must have seen the movement because he looked up. Right at me. A cocky grin spread across his face, and he winked.

I scrambled backward, away from the window. Hot tea sloshed out of my mug and splattered on the top of my feet. “Ouch, dammit!” I slammed down the cup on the counter and wiped off my feet on the back of my calves as I stumbled out of the kitchen, barely avoiding tripping over myself. I didn’t stop until I was hidden in the relative darkness in the hallway.

My heart thundered in my chest and heat rushed to my face until it was so hot I feared it would melt. Shit, shit, shit. That wasn’t supposed to happen. The plan was to stay out of sight and keep watching him unnoticed for as long as I could. At least for the rest of the summer, or as long as the no-shirt weather lingered. My favorite morning routine was forever screwed because I got too careless.

“That’s that. You know what happens to greedy boys,” I mumbled. I drew a deep breath and heaved out a sigh. Closed my eyes and shook out my hands, trying to even my breathing and calm my racing heart. But just as I’d gotten myself under control, someone knocked on my door.

I jumped and yelped. It was the most undignified sound I’d ever produced in my entire life.

It had to be him, right? He was here to read me the riot act, or even worse: punch me in the face for perving on him. Should I hide? Pretend I hadn’t heard him? Try to sneak out through a window on the back of the house? Emigrate to Canada?

Another knock sounded, followed by a cheerful, “Open up, I know you’re in there.”

“Shit.” I was screwed. All that was left for me to do was to take responsibility for being a creep. I squared my shoulders and looked down at my semi. Glared at it. “You’re not helping,” I muttered.

Great. Now I was talking to my genitals, too.

With a couple quick steps, I was by the door and only hesitated for a second before opening it. “Listen, man, I’m…” My voice trailed off and for the life of me, I couldn’t remember what I was going to say. He leaned a strong shoulder against the post on my porch, his legs crossed at the ankles, and he looked relaxed. No angry scowl in sight.

“Well, hello,” he said and waggled his eyebrows.

I breathed a little easier. Clearly, he wasn’t angry at least. “Um…hi?”

“Nice to finally see you without the curtain.”

My eyes widened. “You’ve seen me before?” I squeaked and resisted the urge to smack my forehead. Good job exposing myself! God help me if someone ever put me on the witness stand.

My neighbor chuckled. “Mhm.” He let his gaze sweep over my body and a tingle raced up my spine. Blue. His eyes were blue. Like cornflowers. Or cerulean. Or azure. Or— “You’re not as stealthy as you seem to think.” His amused voice saved my overheated mind from having to come up with more blue nuances to fit his eyes.

“Shit.” I hid behind my hand for a second before looking at him. “I’m sorry, man. I didn’t mean to freak you out, but you’re ridiculously hot.”

As soon as the words spilled out of me I gulped. Oh-em-gee! I can’t believe I just said that. Was it possible to die of mortification? Moving to Canada grew more appealing by the second.

But he just laughed. A loud, hearty sound that made his chest heave and his stomach ripple. Deep laugh lines appeared around his eyes and his teeth were straight and perfect. Shit. He was even more gorgeous up close. I wanted to fall on my knees and bury my face in the fur on his stomach. Run my fingers across his abs and lick him along his hip bone, down to his—

“Jon.”

“Huh?” I forced myself to look at more appropriate parts of his body.

“That’s my name. Jon. What’s yours?”

“Huh?”

He laughed again, straightened, and took a couple steps closer. Right into my personal space. “What’s your name?” He grabbed my chin with his thumb and index finger. His fingers were thick. Strong. With a smile, he brushed his thumb over my stubbly skin.

His question finally registered in my brain. “I’m Alan.” My voice was raspy as if someone had vigorously rubbed sandpaper over my vocal chords.

“Nice to meet you, Alan,” he whispered.

“Uh-huh.” My eloquence knew no bounds this morning.

“Listen.” He took another step closer and his body heat wound itself around me. “I have to go to work, but are you busy tonight?”

“Why?”

Another step and his naked stomach touched mine. Why had I put on a stupid T-shirt when I got out of bed?

“Because if you aren’t, you’re gonna invite me over for coffee.”

“I am?” I shivered.

He nodded. “Sevenish?”

I nodded.

He leaned in and for a moment I thought, hoped, he was going to kiss me. But he just put his mouth next to my ear and whispered, “See you tonight, Alan.” Then he stepped back, winked at me, and jumped off my porch.

Not until he was halfway across the street, I remembered something. “Jon!”

He turned to me but continued walking backward. “Yeah?”

“I only drink tea.”

“I don’t care.” He burst out laughing. “I’ll be over at seven.” He gave me a quick wave before jogging the rest of the way to his house.

I glanced at my watch. Eight thirty-two. Ten and a half hours until I’d see him again. A smile bloomed on my face and my skin tingled.

Fan-fucking-tastic.

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Inspirational image found on Instagram.

#SuperShort

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I’m doing things a little differently for this week’s #SuperShort. When I talked to my friend Addison the other day, I complained that my writing mojo was lost after my holiday vacation in Sweden, that I hadn’t prepared a Flash Fiction story for this week, and that I didn’t have any ideas for one. So, she offered to throw some prompt words at me.

I accepted, even if I’ve never used that method as inspiration before. These are the words she gave me (found here):

26803594_556143514728235_1316412924_n

They didn’t seem too impossible (like the words I sometimes throw at her on Fridays…but to my defense she asks for words and I’m just being a good, helpful friend…and she’s a pro at this 😁) so I mulled them over the whole day until an idea popped into my head.

And I’m so freaking proud of myself because I managed to incorporate all of them! I thought I’d might fix one or two, but not all five. Yay me!!

And thank you, Addison. I needed the virtual kick in the butt. 😁

Now, let’s get to the story, shall we?? (I might have taken some liberties with the words, but I figured it was allowed.)

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The First Meeting

I kept my gaze firmly on the winding road cutting through the woodlands even though it wasn’t car sickness that made my stomach twist in knots. We were alone, hadn’t met another car in ages, and Matt had stopped trying to talk to me several miles back, probably tired of my monosyllabic answers.

When my knee started its incessant bouncing for the tenth time the last five minutes, he reached over the center console and rested a hot palm on my thigh, stilling my leg with a light squeeze.

“Baby, you don’t need to be nervous,” he said.

I swallowed around a big lump in my throat that threatened to make its way into my mouth. “I know,” I croaked out. And I did. He’d told me many, many times. Mom is the nicest and most levelheaded person you’ll ever meet, he’d said. Heck, my dad even used to call her Mellow Meg. The silly nickname had elicited a smile from me but hadn’t really calmed me down. And now, less than five minutes before I would meet her, I had a hard time breathing.

It was the first time in my life I was going to meet the parents. Or parent, since Matt’s dad had died a year before we met. Thirty years old and scared to death to meet someone who apparently was the most agreeable person on God’s green earth and who had no problems whatsoever with Matt being gay if Matt was to be trusted. And he’d never lied to me before, so I had no reason to doubt him.

But it didn’t help. My own family had reacted badly when I came out, and I’d never met the parents of my only serious boyfriend before Matt because he wasn’t out to them. Meeting his family had never been an issue for the entire four years we’d been together.

Matt, on the other hand, was completely different. As soon as our relationship had turned serious, he’d wanted us to go see his mom. I want the two most important people in my life to meet, he’d said and curled his big body around mine where we’d lain in his cozy bed. His thick fingers had played with my treasure trail and short-circuited my brain, making it impossible for me to deny him anything.

Not that I’d ever been able to say no to him. Whenever I tried, he would just kiss me and kiss me and kiss me until my legs turned to spaghetti and a kaleidoscope of butterflies took up residence in my stomach. His warm brown eyes, his lush mouth, and his big hands with the thick fingers could convince me to do anything.

So here I was. About to meet his mom. Desperately hoping I wouldn’t faint like a damsel in distress on her doorstep.

Curling my hands into fists, I shuddered at their clamminess. I rubbed my palms on my pants because no one wanted to shake a sweaty hand.

A house materialized in the distance and my heart stumbled between two beats. The fist around my throat tightened.

What if Mrs. Johnson was fine with Matt being gay, but not him being with me? What if she didn’t like me? I wasn’t the most talkative of guys under normal circumstances. What if I did something to offend her? My parents had taught me manners, of course, how to be polite and correct when meeting new people, but nerves always made a knot out of my tongue and left me a stumbling mess.

My knee resumed its bouncing when Matt turned into the driveway leading up to the small, ranch-style house. It was surrounded by trees and looked nice and inviting. Like a real home. I groaned and ran my fingers through my hair.

Matt parked the car and got out after shooting me a quick smile. I followed him before I had time to change my mind and do something stupid, like climb over to the driver’s side and hightail it out of there. I trailed behind him on the path leading up to the house like a baby duck padding after its mama. Feeling just as small and vulnerable.

He didn’t knock when he stopped in front of the door. Instead, he turned to me and cupped my cheeks. And just like that, I could breathe easier. I looked up and met his gaze and the lump in my throat dissolved.

“Oh, baby,” he murmured as he leaned forward and nudged the tip of his nose against mine. “I promise she’ll love you.”

I bit my lower lip to stop it from trembling. How could he promise me something like that when my own mother had refused to speak to me for years because of who I was? How could he be so goddamned sure?

“And Ike?” He slid his hands down and ran his fingers through the short hairs on the back of my neck.

“Uh-huh?” Needing to be connected to him, I hooked my index finger in one of the belt loops of his faded jeans that made me want to fall to my knees and worship his muscular legs.

“Even if she doesn’t, it won’t change a thing. I love you. That’s all that matters.”

I tugged him closer and rose on my tippytoes so I could rest my cheek against his. “I love you, too, Matthew,” I whispered.

We stood like that for several minutes. His breaths puffing against my cheek and his caressing fingers made me forget everything but him. His woodsy scent found its way into my nose and I inhaled him, taking his essence into my body. My darling Matt. Steady as a rock, and mellow like his mom.

When the knot in my stomach had untangled, I pressed my lips against his stubbly cheek before taking a step back. “I’m ready,” I said.

Together, we turned to the door. I lifted my hand and knocked.

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That was fun. So, leave me some words in the comments and I’ll try my best to incorporate them in a story. But please, leave more than one so I can be picky…if you decide to not play nice and leave me a word like skullduggery… or diaphanous or something equally evil  😁

While you do that, I’ll browse through Instagram and see if I can find something inspiring. It’s best to have a back-up plan, don’t you think? 😁

Happy Friday, everyone!

#SuperShort

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Ballet in the Snow

It was the first day of the new year. The snow poured down from the sky in big, fat flakes, blanketing the world in white, muffling the city sounds and making everything eerily quiet. I would never have left my apartment if I didn’t absolutely have to, but I got back from my parents’ early this morning and the fridge was empty. My choice was either starve to death or brave the weather, and my stomach had been growling angrily at me for hours already.

I hurried along the empty streets with my shoulders pulled up to my ears and my head down to avoid getting whirling snowflakes in my nose. Shivers racked my body: I needed to save up to a warm coat if this was an indication of the winter to come. I was deep in thought and if I hadn’t looked up at that exact moment, I would have missed him.

About to cross the street, I raised my head and did a double take when I noticed him. Poised in the middle of the road with one arm reaching for the heavens and a booted foot stretched into a point, was a man fully dressed for the weather. He had a scarf wound around a long neck, leather gloves on his hands, and wore an unzipped parka. Bulky clothing, worn with surprising grace.

I couldn’t take my eyes off him as he held his pose for a second or two before starting to move. It was small at first, his hand shifted in a way that could have been accidental, but it soon became clear it wasn’t. The movements became more flourishing and spread to his arm and the rest of his body until there was no mistaking what he was doing.

He danced.

And oh my God, he moved like he didn’t have a bone in his body. Like he was liquid.

I drew a quick breath and my mouth filled with snowflakes, but I ignored them. The flurry from the sky and the freezing temperature faded into something insignificant as he moved. His limbs flowed seamlessly from one position to the next, his arms and legs stretched and seemed impossibly long. He held his head high and his feet moved rapidly to a melody only he could hear.

It was mesmerizing.

Enchanting.

Without warning, he leaped up and for what seemed like forever he was suspended in the air. Defying gravity with legs split wide, chin raised, arms arched over his head, and every muscle taut.

I couldn’t breathe. My heart stuttered to a halt as I waited for him to return to earth. When his booted feet landed with a thump and continued their routine, I expelled all the nervous air from my lungs in a rush, unaware that I’d been afraid he would slip and fall.

He continued his dancing for a little while longer and ended in a magnificent pirouette, spinning around his own axis with one leg bent at the knee.

My hand flew to my mouth at the sight and I gasped. How could he do that with such devastating grace wearing those clumsy boots?

Just as abruptly as he’d started, he sat down his foot and stopped, spreading his arms wide as if he was embracing the world. With a heaving chest, he leaned his head back and let the snowflakes land on his upturned face. He didn’t move, just stood like that as if the snow didn’t bother him at all.

Had that just happened? I rubbed my eyes with stiff fingers, but he was still holding his position when I opened them again. He wasn’t a cold-induced hallucination. He’d actually done that. Danced. In the snow. In the middle of the street.

It was weird. I’d never seen anything more beautiful in my life.

It was magical.

“Wow.” The word slipped out of me.

His head jerked up and he looked in my direction. Redness crept up his neck and stained his cheeks, and he bit his lip.

“That was…amazing,” I said. I didn’t want him to be ashamed of something so glorious.

“Yeah?” One corner of his mouth twitched, as if he wanted to smile but didn’t allow himself.

“Yes,” I exclaimed and nodded for emphasis.

Now that the man had stopped dancing I became very aware of the snow and quivered. “I should…” I said and pointed my thumb in the direction I’d been headed.

“Sure.” He averted his eyes and brushed away the snow gathering on his shoulders. I took the opportunity to really look at him. His chocolate brown hair was dotted with huge snowflakes. His beard was neatly trimmed, and his eyebrows were like black slashes across his face. He was very handsome.

I took a couple of steps, but something about him pulled at me. “I’m Josh, by the way,” I said, reluctant to leave.

He smiled at me then. It was shy and reserved, but his eyes glittered as he let his gaze rove over my body. “I’m Tom.” A pink tongue darted out and licked his lips and sent a tingle down my spine. The way his eyes lingered on my chest and face made the decision for me.

“I, uh, was gonna grab a bite to eat. You busy?”

He tilted his head to the side. “You asking me out on a date, Josh?” His voice was breathy.

“I guess I am.”

“Why?”

I shrugged. How could I tell him that watching him dance in the heavy snowfall in the abandoned streets of the city was the most unexpected and beautiful thing I’d ever experienced in my life? That it had warmed my heart, even though my body was cold? “I loved your dancing,” was all I said. I looked away.

Why had I even asked? Of course, he wouldn’t want to go with a complete stranger. Which sane person would? For all he knew, I could be a serial killer.

I was just about to apologize when his warm fingers nudged mine. It was the lightest touch, but enough to send a buzz through my body.

“Okay,” he whispered.

I glanced up and he smiled at me. A real smile—the shyness from earlier completely forgotten—and it transformed his face, lighting him up from the inside. Making him irresistible.

“You sure?”

“I never could resist when someone as cute as you compliment my dancing.”

I shot him a grin. “You think I’m cute?”

“Don’t fish for compliments, it’s not attractive.” He winked at me.

“I apologize.” My smile grew wider. I wanted to reach out and touch him. To trace his eyebrows with a finger. Warm his cheeks with my hands. Kiss away the snowflake that had the audacity to land on his lower lip.

I did none of those things. Instead, I held out my arm to him in the manner of an old-fashioned gentleman and he took it without hesitation. We started walking and even though I could feel the snowflakes land on my exposed skin, I didn’t care.

All I cared about in that moment was his arm linked with mine.

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Inspirational image found on Instagram

 

Christmasvaganza: #SuperShort

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Today is the last day of 2017 and of Christmasvaganza. I told you on Friday that I switched places with the review and the Flash Fiction this week because I wrote a story taking place on New Year’s Eve. What I didn’t tell you was that the story is about Lenny and JJ, the two guys from my story The Christmas Day Date, featured in the anthology Make the Yuletide Gay.

It’s not standalone, but don’t fret if you haven’t read it yet. The anthology is FREE, so go ahead and download it and read it before you continue with this scene from their lives. The links are below.

iBooks | B&N | Kobo | Smashwords | Scribd | Amazon

I hope you like this glimpse into Lenny and JJ’s future. If you’re really lucky, they’ll show up here on the blog again. Until then I wish you a Happy New Year. Please, please, please, let 2018 be better than 2017 was!

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Decisions

It was thirty minutes until the ball would drop and I still hadn’t decided if I was gonna watch it or go to bed. I closed my eyes to shut out flickering lights from the muted TV and leaned my head against the back of the couch. A deep sigh escaped me, and I rubbed my fist against my chest.

My heart ached with loneliness…which was fucking ridiculous considering I’d spent most of my nights alone since I sobered up ten years ago. But seven evenings with the greatest guy I’d ever met was apparently enough to make me crave his company. To make me itchy when I was parted from him.

Had it only been seven days? It felt like longer…and not nearly long enough. Like maybe forever wouldn’t be long enough, but it was far too early to think about heavy stuff like that. Especially since I was still waiting for the other shoe to drop. For JJ to wake up one morning with a frown on his narrow face, and wonder what the heck he was doing with someone like me.

I would fly apart if his beautiful blue eyes turned cold and disdainful when he looked at me.

I shook my head and chuckled. Wrinkled my nose at my own stupidity. I could practically hear JJ scolding me. Stop putting yourself down, Lenny. It was good advice. Insecurities were a real turnoff and I didn’t want to make myself into a sad case of self-fulfilling prophecy.

Which should also be applied to the reason I was alone on New Year’s Eve in the first place, instead of hanging out with my new boyfriend. JJ’s friends had told him in no uncertain terms that they were welcoming the new year with dancing and drinks. He’d hesitated to agree. Said he wanted to spend time with me. And then he’d asked me the impossible.

To go with them.

I’d really wanted to say yes. To see his body wiggle in tempo with the music. To make out with him on the dance floor.

But I couldn’t. His pleading eyes, impossibly big behind his huge glasses didn’t help. I’d opened my mouth to say yes, but the thought of spending an evening surrounded by drunk people made my skin crawl worse than it had when I’d come down off the sauce.

What if I couldn’t keep my hands off it?

What if I drank myself into a stupor and hurt JJ?

I couldn’t risk it. He must have seen the terror in my eyes because he hadn’t pushed. Instead, he declared he would stay home with me, but I didn’t want to be the schmuck who kept his man from seeing his friends. So, I’d convinced him to go and kissed the slight pout he’d been unaware of, off his soft lips.

“Crap,” I muttered and stabbed the off-button on the remote. The apartment grew dark except for the light that filtered in from the outside and I rubbed my droopy eyelid with a knuckle.

I needed to do something about my hang-ups. I couldn’t keep hiding from the real world like a fucking loser if I wanted to be with JJ.

Leaning forward, I kneaded my neck. My knee bounced, and I had to force it to stay still by pressing down a palm on my thigh.

What if…

What if I went to the AA? Got myself a sponsor?

I’d stubbornly resisted going all this time. I didn’t want to rely on anyone but myself for my sobriety. I’d gotten myself into the damn mess and had been determined to get myself out of it. But maybe talking to someone who knew what I’d been through wouldn’t be all that terrible? Maybe they could even teach me shit that could help me cope with a situation where booze was involved? At least I’d have someone I could call if I was scared I was about to fuck up.

I waited for the anxiety to turn my stomach into a nest of angry wasps at the thought of going to a meeting and baring my soul, but it never happened. Instead, I felt lighter, as if someone had filled my body with helium and I was on the verge of floating away.

I flew off the couch and grabbed the key JJ had given me before he’d taken off earlier.

At least watch the fireworks from my place. I have a better view, he’d said and I wrinkled my nose when I remembered the half-assed promise I’d given him in return. No more of that shit. I stalked across the hall and stabbed the key at the lock, missing my target several times before I finally could let myself in. When I closed the door behind me, I was enveloped by a sense of home. Of peace.

The rainbow-decorated Christmas tree was lit, and the cheerful colors drifting from the living room drew me in like the moon pulled the tide. Even though I’d seen it every day this last week, it still had a profound impact on me. It was as if the twinkling lights colored my entire existence, transforming my boring, old gray life into a magnificent rainbow.

Or maybe it was JJ himself who did all that.

I shook my head. I was getting far too maudlin in the last shivering minutes of this old year. I needed to find some positive energy. Start the new year in the way I wanted it to continue.

Wandering over to the window facing downtown, I fished out my phone from my pocket and fired off a text to JJ.

hope ur having fun. gonna watch the fireworks from ur place. miss u

I jammed it back down my jeans and looked out. It was a cloudless night, perfect for fireworks, and cold seeped into my hand when I rested it against the windowpane. I shivered, happy to warm be inside. The city was awake and teeming with life, people celebrating and having fun. But I was right where I wanted to be.

I left my eyes drift closed. Funny how the loneliness had disappeared as soon as I set foot in JJ’s home even though he wasn’t there. Funny how my swirling thoughts unfurled and slowed down.

My eyes flew open when two cold hands slid under my sweatshirt and tried to steal heat from my tummy. “JJ? Whatcha doin’ home so early? I didn’t hear you come in.”

He moved closer, plastered his front against my back and buried his cold nose into the base my neck, mashing his glasses against my head. “Mmmm,” he hummed, and I shivered as his hot breath puffed against my skin. “I’m so happy to find you here.”

I tucked my hands under my shirt and laid them over his and he wove our fingers together. “Didn’t you wear your gloves? You’re ice cold.”

“I was in a hurry.” His lips touched my neck as he spoke, sending a quiver down my spine. He freed one of his hands and squeezed it between us, fumbling with the buttons of his coat, and started shrugging out of it. When he’d freed himself from one sleeve, he repeated the process with the other, until his coat thumped down on the floor behind us.

I reached back and grabbed his glasses, and pulled them off and put them away so he wouldn’t break them. I twisted my head and whispered, “I missed you, Julius.” I drew out the s in his name and it had the desired effect. His ballet slipper colored lips claimed mine as if he owned them, and his arms tightened around my waist.

He kissed the breath out of me and filled my belly with happy flutters. His fingers splayed on my stomach and tugged lightly on my sparse fur, but he didn’t move below the belt, respecting my limits.

His gaze was unfocused as he withdrew, and he rested his forehead against my temple. He let out a sigh.

“Did you have fun?” I asked.

“Mhm.”

The first round of fireworks exploded outside the window, but I didn’t move. Instead, I kept my eyes on JJ. The colors danced over his relaxed face and he looked so content.

“Why didn’t you stay with your friends?”

“Rob said we should start the year the way we wanted to continue it. He meant dancing and having fun.” He pressed his lips against my cheek. “But for me, it meant hanging out with you. So here I am.”

My breath hitched at his words. I’d thought the exact same thing a few minutes before he got home. And just like that, I knew how I wanted to start the new year.

Freeing myself from his embrace, I turned around. Cupped his dear face and looked into his icy blue eyes that shone with warmth and affection. A happy smile played on his lips. He took my breath away and it was definitely the right decision.

I stepped away from him, grabbed the back of my shirt, pulled it over my head, and dropped it on the floor. I ran my fingers down my chest, over my belly, and rested them on the button of my jeans.

His gaze zoomed in on my hand, and his pink tongue darted out and licked his lips. I wanted to kiss him. Suck on that quick tongue and mash my mouth against lips and not stop until his face was red and scratchy from my stubble.

“Lenny? What are you doing?” His voice was breathless and low. Red and green and blue flashed over his skin.

I flipped open the button. “You said you wanted to start the year the way you want it to continue.”

“Yeah,” he rasped and his Adam’s Apple bobbed in his throat.

I pulled down the zipper, but the heat in his eyes could have melted it right off the fabric.

“But you said…” He cleared his throat. “You said next time you had sex, it would mean something.” He kept very still, didn’t make a move or try to persuade me, but his eyes never left my hand and a slight tremble in his legs betrayed what he really wanted. His tongue darted out again, wetting his lips, making my dick twitch in my pants as if it had been the one being licked.

“And I meant it,” I said, letting my baggy jeans fall to the floor.

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