They were best friends in high school, Eddie Turner, the wrestling jock, and Tyrone Parker, the uber-studious nerd. They were inseparable, throughout their school years, even double dating girls in their small town high school in Galena, Illinois. They promised to stay in touch after graduation, but college took them different parts of the country. The intervening years saw them lose touch, as their lives took very different trajectories from what either had expected or imagined.
After 20 years, they are reunited at a class reunion. Tyrone is back visiting from his high-paying bank job in Chicago, while Eddie returned to Galena after college to run his family’s pharmacy there. Both are licking their wounds from recently ended relationships, so their friendship is easy to rekindle after all those years. But when Tyrone finds out that Eddie is gay, he is suddenly very nervous around his old friend. Tyrone is hiding a secret that no one has known up to this point. He is bisexual. His family doesn’t know, because until recently he’s been married to a woman for twenty years. But being around Eddie is making him rethink his feelings for him. Eddie is awakening something inside him that he can’t control—desire.
Eddie can’t imagine Tyrone would be interested in his wounded heart after his last boyfriend dumped him. Again. He must be meant to be alone forever. Besides, Tyrone’s straight, right? Eddie was just happy Tyrone didn’t outright reject him for being gay. But if he is straight, then why did Tyrone kiss him in a flurry of lust and desire in the back of the pharmacy. Is there something his old friend is hiding? Something worth learning now they’re together again? Could there be more to their friendship, for old times’ sake?
- 1 To Be Read list
Heat Level: 2
Romantic Content: 5
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Bisexual, Gay
Protagonist 1 Age: Varies During Story
Protagonist 2 Age: Varies During Story
Tropes: Friends to Lovers, Interracial Relationship, Reunited and it Feels So Good, Second Chances, Slow Burning Love, True Love
Word Count: 56500
Setting: Galena, Illinois, USA (Small town)
Languages Available: English
“So, what’s bothering you this morning?” Sam asked as he sat a cup of coffee in front of his son. They were in the small back office at the pharmacy on Saturday morning, working on paperwork from the previous week. He sat down on the chair in front of the desk and sipped his coffee.
“What?” Eddie asked, still mostly lost in his thoughts. He could not stop thinking about what had happened the night before at the cocktail social.
“You’ve hardly said two full sentences since you got up this morning,” Sam observed. “Obviously something is weighing pretty heavily on your mind.”
“Yeah, I guess,” Eddie hedged.
“Did your reunion with Tyrone not go well last night?”
Eddie sat down his pen and leaned back in his office chair. “That’s just it, Dad. I’m not sure exactly how it went.”
“What happened?”READ MORE
“Things were going well. It was almost like old times. He told me about his divorce, then he asked me about my breakup, which Angela had apparently spilled the beans about.”
“And?” Sam persisted.
“He assumed it had been with a wife or girlfriend. When I told him it was a boyfriend, and he wasn’t the only one over the years, Ty freaked out. He got up and left before we could talk about it anymore.”
“So, why do you think he did that?”
“I don’t know, Dad. I’m afraid that my worst fears may have played out. I’m afraid he’s done with me now, because I’m gay.”
Sam sighed compassionately. “Don’t jump to conclusions, Son,” he began. “I watched you two for a lot of years. Your friendship is way deeper and stronger than a revelation like that could break. Give him some time. Remember, he’s been through a lot in the past six months, too.”
“I suppose you’re right, Dad … as usual,” Eddie conceded. “Maybe now that you’re retired, you should stop hanging around here and open some sort of ‘friendly advice’ shop on Main Street,” he added with a chuckle.
Before Sam could respond, there was a knock on the door. They both looked up and saw Tyrone standing there, looking perplexed and nervous.
“Ty?!” Eddie greeted in a hopeful tone.
“Hey,” Tyrone responded sheepishly. “Do you have a minute?”
“Sure,” Eddie said, getting to his feet.
Sam got up as well and grabbed his cane. “I’ll just head out and, uh, give some advice to someone,” he quipped as he exited the room. “Good to see you again, Ty,” he added as he passed his son’s friend, patting him on the shoulder.
“Same here,” Tyrone replied with a nervous smile.
After Sam left, Eddie closed the door and turned to Tyrone. “Look, Ty, I’m sorry about dropping the bombshell about me being gay on you at the event last night. I was planning on telling you in a more private situation. And I understand if it’s not something you can live with. I just …”
Tyrone suddenly grabbed Eddie by the shoulders and pushed him against the door, his lips crashing into Eddie’s. Eddie resisted only an instant, mainly out of initial surprise. But then he picked up on the passion with which Tyrone was kissing him and he kissed back. The kiss lasted nearly a full minute, their breathing becoming heavy with passion. Then suddenly, Tyrone pulled back, ending their lip lock. The look on his face was even more perplexed and confused than when he arrived.
Then his expression turned to panic, and he grabbed the doorknob, opened the door, and bolted through it.
“Ty, wait!” Eddie implored. “Wait! We need to talk!” Eddie chased after Tyrone, who was already leaving through the front door of the pharmacy. Eddie stopped in the middle of the “family planning” section, as he watched Tyrone leave.
“What was that all about?” Sam asked, approaching his son from behind and placing his hand on Eddie’s shoulder.
Eddie touched his lips absent mindedly and replied, “I don’t know for sure, Dad. But I think I need to find out.”COLLAPSE