Bob Anderson knew it was not quite normal to be relieved that the woman he’d proposed to turned him down. He thought he was ready; he was thirty-six, it was time to choose a partner and take the next step. He wanted her as much as he’d ever wanted a woman. It was not quite normal to be sitting in a bar asking himself whether he’d ever wanted a woman at all.
Jade Derecha wasn’t out to pick anyone up. He wasn’t out to meet anybody. He only went to sit with the guy in the suit because he looked so tragic. And then the guy put that ring box on the table without a word, as if it had a story to tell. Jade opened the box; thought wistfully about how good that ring would look on his own graceful hand; and put it on.
By the end of the night, Bob was calling himself Robert, because he wasn’t the person who’d always been called Bob. Only one other thing in his life had changed. That one thing changed everything else. Because he woke up beside Jade and realized there was so much more to want.
Publisher: Independently Published
Heat Level: 3
Romantic Content: 5
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Gay
Protagonist 1 Age: 26-35
Protagonist 2 Age: 36-45
Tropes: Coming Out / Closeted, Gay for You / Straight to Gay
Word Count: 70200
Setting: Los Angeles
Languages Available: English
Series Type: Same Universe / Various Characters
Jade sipped some of the new wine, conscious that he’d had a lot more than usual. Over the course of several hours, but still. “Whatever happened with your new wrestler?”
“Oh! I meant to tell you.” Robert leaned forward, elbows on the table, smiling. “He got an offer to play a villain in this medium-low-budget action movie. They sent me the whole script, I sent it to him, he said can you rep me for this? And I had to say I’ve never done a movie deal before, there’s a guy here who might do better for you. But if you want to trust me I’ll talk to some people and do the best I can. He said sure. So I’m talking to this guy in my office, you know, picking his brain. Trawling through IMDb. Doing a fuck-ton of calling around. The details on deals aren’t that easy to find. He’s inclined to take the gig for shits and giggles, but if he likes it he might want to do more. So I don’t want to put him in there for minimum wage, if you know what I mean.”READ MORE
“Sure.” Could you actually be more perfect. Jade drank a little more wine. “A villain, huh. Is he a bad guy in the WWE?”
“Oh, they’re all bad guys sometimes. He’s not super huge. Six foot one, two thirty or so. Makes me look like a broomstick.”
Jade almost choked on a mouthful of wine. He gulped, coughed, and laughed for a minute. “You do not look like a broomstick. I could do incredible things with you.”
I’ll bet you could. “Like what?” Robert was leaning back now, hand on the stem of his glass. Wondering if he was the only one who heard innuendo in that statement. This evening was clarifying one thing, which was that attraction to men was every bit as variable as attraction to women. It was not a case of ‘any guy will do.’ The guy he went to dinner with was a maybe. Jade was always going to be a yes please. Even though Robert had only half a clue what to do, how to do it, how to ask for it, or when. The man would not be here if he weren’t at least a little bit interested. They wouldn’t have shared that moment of awareness earlier if Jade weren’t open to the possibility.
Jade watched Robert watching him, thought there is no chance I’m not getting in his bed tonight, and said, “I assume you’ve never done drag.”
That was out of nowhere. “Uh, no.”
For you, anything. “I would consider it.” He let all the caution come out in his tone.
“For a good cause?”
“What good cause?”
“Los Angeles LGBT Center. There’s a benefit, the whole silent-auction thing plus a drag pageant. It’s going to be a literary theme, so the costumes have to be based on a book.”
“You have an idea.” Robert was smiling again.
“Ever since I saw you naked.” That was a slight exaggeration, but now the word was out of his head and in the air where it belonged. What the hell. “Which I’d like to do again.”
It took a second for Robert to come up with something that wasn’t ‘let’s go.’ “I could be naked as soon as the kitchen is clean.”
“Will it go faster if I help?” They were grinning at each other across the table. Jade didn’t care if this was only a way for Robert to forget that phone call for a while. Didn’t care that he had slipped several more notches toward love over the course of the evening.
Robert didn’t care if this was only Jade being nice, taking care of him again, or thanking him for dinner. Didn’t care that another night with the man was going to make it even harder to consider anyone else as a possibility. “It might go faster if you don’t, actually. I don’t know if I could keep my hands off you in close quarters.”
“Mmm. I see. Well, I could spend a few minutes snooping through your closet. See what else needs to come out of it.”
Robert laughed. “I’m so glad I met you.” He stood up, collected the plates, and took them into the kitchen. Jade gave himself a second to savor that last comment, then went to snoop through (first) the powder room and (second) Robert’s closet. He wasn’t kidding about that.COLLAPSE