Come out of the cold, into the warm…
Dean Chapman has always had a thing for April Reid ‘the girl next door’, the woman he’s never had. What he doesn’t know is that while he made puppy dog eyes at her, her younger brother, Jay, spent his time looking at him the same way.
Now, years later, he considers the two Reid siblings as close friends, nothing more than that. Little does he know Jay is still in love with him, always has been, always will be, but he’s about to find out. When he does it not only throws his sexuality into question, it shines an ugly light in his direction.
Reacting as he often does, on impulse, he’s about to make an understandable but life-altering mistake… and then he makes another one.
Dean has to take a long look at himself and he’s not sure he likes what he sees. He can’t remember being this arrogant, an egomaniac, not to mention a control freak, and that’s only a few of the nicer things April Reid has taken to calling him in defense of her brother. Can he change? Does he want to? Does he even need to or is it really just a question of making the right choice?
It’s winter and snow is falling but he doesn’t yet know which of them might yet be left out in the cold.
Dean likes women but not nearly as much as he likes himself. His friend, Jay, likes him more but if he’s not careful he might lose the one person who can take him just as he is, ego included!
Wishing to fill the silence, Jay remarked that he’d rather watch motor-racing and received a surprised look from Dean in response. “What? You think you’re the only one that likes cars?”
“No, I just…” Dean shrugged. “I guess I didn’t think…” Slight rouge infused his face.
“If you say a gay man can’t like sports and especially something as butch as motor-racing, I don’t care how big you are, I’m going to slap you.” He watched Dean open his mouth and close it again, apparently having second thoughts about arguing. “I thought you’d love motor-racing,” Jay told him.
“If you say a car is just a car, I’m the one that will do the slapping. I don’t care for it that much. I always considered it a waste of petrol.”
Jay gaped, sat there aware his mouth was open, but he couldn’t close it. Finally, he managed to laugh, then grin, and then he flicked popcorn at the other man. “Don’t tell me. You see it as petrol that you could put to better use. Like in one of those cars you get to tinker with.”
Dean flicked some popcorn back. One piece hit Jay on the nose and then skipped away, rolling somewhere under the coffee table. “I do not tinker,” he growled. Jay liked the sound of it.
“No.” Those so blue eyes narrowed so that all Jay could see was a blue line in each. Oddly, it made him think of catching a glimpse of the ocean on a distant horizon. “I know exactly what fits where,” Dean concluded. He made a grab for Jay’s ankle.
Not expecting it, Jay jumped. The popcorn bowl, balanced on the sofa between them, shifted. He went to make a grab for it and only succeeded in hitting the edge of the bowl. It rose into the air, flipping as it did so. In something surprisingly akin to slow motion, Jay watched it somersault, the contents flying out in a crispy shower. It covered the floor, him, and the sofa.
Turning, Jay slipped to the floor on his knees. Even as he heard and felt the crunch of popcorn under his knees, pieces of it slipped into his clothing. Laughing, Dean joined him in scooping up what they could find back into the bowl.
“I guess we won’t be eating this.”
Jay looked at the bowl in Dean’s hand. Even though he’d hoovered two days ago, bits of dark fluff stood out against the pale roundels of puffed corn. He shook his head in agreement. “No. I don’t think so.”
“I guess we’ll have to eat the chocolates.”
Unbelievably, he hadn’t scoffed the lot. The squashed ones were gone, but the second box remained virtually intact. Only one was missing. As Dean lifted the lid of the box, Jay went from searching for popcorn in the dark recesses of the sofa, to searching the inside of his shirt. On his knees, he shook his shirt away from his body and three pieces fell out to roll across the carpet to come to a halt near Dean’s feet.
Both men watched, following the popcorn’s course and then glanced up into one another’s eyes at the same time. Dean’s lips lifted at one corner.
No comments available.