Keely James stared at the picture in the newspaper, tears of grief sprouting to his eyes. It was a photograph of Dominic Loudan and a blonde woman named Sophia Russo at a gala event at the local art museum held the night before.
It really was a flattering photo of both Dominic and Sophia. They had their arms around each other, laughing at something the cameraman said to them. They looked happy. Why shouldn’t they be? According to the newspaper article, Dominic was sure to ask Sophia to marry him any time now.
The only problem Keely had with the whole thing is that Dominic belonged to him. Keely had been Dominic’s live in lover for the past five years. They shared everything… their home, their life together… their love.
So why was Keely seeing Dominic’s name paired with some slinky blonde runway model instead of his? He had heard the arguments from Dominic time and time again.
Dominic was basically in the closet.
Oh, he had no problem being with Keely, introducing him to his closest friends and family. He just didn’t want Keely involved in the public side of his life. He said that people wouldn’t understand two men living together, that they wouldn’t want to do business with someone that was openly gay.
In the beginning, Keely had understood. He had just been happy to have Dominic in his life. But as time went by, Dominic had been in his life less and less. There were more business trips without Keely, more business dinners without Keely, and finally, more everything without Keely.
He hadn’t even seen Dominic in over a week, and they lived together. Presently, Dominic was off on some business trip, coming home briefly for this gala event but staying in a hotel. While Keely stayed at home, waiting for Dominic to remember he existed.
Keely stared at the photo again before dropping the newspaper down on the desk. His heart ached. Dominic hadn’t even called him to say he was in town, much less come home to see him. He wondered if Dominic even remembered that he had someone waiting at home for him.
He knew he was fooling himself. He had held on far too long, not wanting to let go of the man who owned his heart. But the truth was sitting there in black and white. His relationship with Dominic was over.
Keely let out a little hysterical laugh as he wondered if Dominic would even notice if he were gone… probably not. He had Sophia to keep him company. He didn’t need Keely.
He knew he was glutton for punishment as he reached for the phone and dialed Dominic’s cell phone. He just couldn’t give up on five years without trying one last time to salvage something.
“Hey, baby,” Dominic replied, his voice filled with tension. Keely instantly felt like he shouldn’t have called, like he was a bother to the one man he was supposed to mean everything to.
“Are you busy?” That was a stupid question. Dominic was always busy.
“I have a meeting in about… ten minutes. What’s up?”
“Well, I haven’t seen you in nearly a week. You haven’t even called in two days. I wanted to make sure everything was okay. I was worried about you.”
“I’m fine, Keely. I’ve just been busy. You know that.”
Damn! He sounded upset. Dominic hated for Keely to nag as he called it. “How was the thing at the art museum last night?” Keely wondered briefly if Dominic had been cut off when he didn’t reply right away. “Dominic? Are you still there?”
“Yeah, I’m here. Look, Keely, I have to go. I’ll call you tonight and we can talk then, okay?”
Keely’s heart dropped. He knew Dominic wouldn’t call. He hated emotional scenes. He would wait a few days to see if Keely would stop nagging. “Yeah, okay. I love you, Dominic.”
“Yeah, me, too, Keely. I’ll talk to you tonight.”
Keely listened to the sounds of silence as Dominic hung up the phone. He hadn’t even said good-bye. It seemed to always be like that. He just never had time anymore. Keely knew that he was busy, that his business was important to him.
But wasn’t Keely important, too?
He hung up the phone and looked around the beautiful home he lived in. It was a grand showpiece. It was very modern, all black and white and chrome. Everything in it was perfect, right down to the last spoon.
And Keely hated every inch of it.
Funny, it was Dominic’s pride and joy. He loved the house and everything in it. He had even hired a professional decorator to decorate it. Keely had offered to decorate it, but Dominic wanted it done just right. Keely hadn’t had a say in any of it, not even their bedroom.
Just one more thing to let Keely know he would never be a permanent fixture in Dominic’s life. He felt like banging his head against a wall. He couldn’t figure out why he had stayed so long. There had been so many signs that he wasn’t wanted.
Dominic hadn’t even made it to Keely’s college graduation ceremony six months ago. He had been on a business trip to New York and couldn’t come home. He had promised to make it up to him. Keely was still waiting.
He could count on both hands the number of times he had actually seen Dominic in the last six months. Oh, he called when he could, and sent flowers when he forgot. But none of that made up for not being there.
Someone once said that any relationship could make it for the long haul if they could make it five years. Dominic and Keely’s five-year anniversary was two weeks away. It didn’t look like they were going to make it.
Maybe it really was time to cut his losses and move on. He was tired of going to bed alone every night, not having someone to talk with and spend time with. He was tired of not being important enough to matter.
Keely nearly jumped out of his chair when the phone rang just a few minutes after he had hung up. Maybe it was Dominic. Reaching quickly across the desk he grabbed the phone.
“Mom?” Shit! It wasn’t Dominic.
“Keely, you need to come home, honey.”