College professor and website designer Drew Hampton has had only one great love in his life. A loner as a teen, he found solace in art, his self-styled mullet, and the television show ALF. Then a new boy moved in next door, and he discovered love.
Mechanic Wes Harrison was thrown into adult responsibility at a young age. He’s managed to build a good life through hard work and determination; however, he hasn’t been in a relationship since high school.
Drew and Wes were deeply in love thirty years ago, but then they were torn apart. Unlucky at relationships after their separation, both men treasured memories of their one true love.
Fate intervenes and gives them a second chance. Will they rekindle their once great love and find happiness, or has too much time gone by?
Publisher: JMS Books, LLC
Heat Level: 2
Romantic Content: 4
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Gay
Protagonist 1 Age: Varies During Story
Protagonist 2 Age: Varies During Story
Tropes: Coming of Age, Families/Raising Kids, Friends to Lovers, Second Chances
Word Count: 18000
Languages Available: English
"You got a phone book?"
I was outside sitting on my haunches and drawing figures in the dirt with a stick when Wes found me. I squinted up at him, shading my eyes with my free hand from the sun.
“Yeah, upstairs.” I stood, brushing the dirt from my hands on the seat of my shorts. “My apartment is right next to yours. What grade you gonna be in? I’m going to be in eighth grade at Woodcreek. It’s waaaay across town, like really far. A lot farther than Oakwood Junior High. That’s the school down the road.” I waved vaguely in the direction of the school.
“The good thing about Woodcreek,” I continued, “is that I won’t have to switch schools next year. Woodcreek is junior high and high school. If I was going to Oakwood, I’d have to switch to Lemoore High for ninth grade. The schools are right next door to each other, but still.”READ MORE
“I haven’t registered for school yet, but I will be in the eighth grade, too. That’s why I need a phone book, so my mom can call the school board to get all that shit set up.”
“Man, wouldn’t it be rad if we were in the same class?”
“Sure.” His reply was noncommittal as he matched me step for step up the stairs.
He followed me into my apartment, checking out the space that made up the living room and kitchen. The bar that served to separate the rooms was covered with sheets of rough drawings. I had half-heartedly started creating a comic book to occupy my long summer days.
“Set up’s the same as yours. Make yourself at home and I’ll find the phone book for ya.”
He walked over to the bar and shuffled through my pages.
“Um, that’s nothing. Just some silly stuff I waste time on.” Other than my mom, I had shown no one my creation. I couldn’t read Wes and had no idea what he would think of it.
“This is super cool.” He tapped a panel I had drawn that morning of my superhero, Captain Fabulous, saving a city from the fashion police. It was very campy, a word I would learn several years later when I expanded upon the rudimentary story and art.
“Yeah? It’s a hobby. I mean, I truly like art but it isn’t practical, so I only do it during school breaks.” Even with his praise, I wanted to scoop up the pages and tuck them away in a drawer. My mom always said drawing was a waste of time. She had big aspirations for me to get a job in an office and be rich and successful, and drawing silly pictures wasn’t a means to that end. By contrast, Wes’ praise made me stand up a bit taller and puff my chest out some. Having someone appreciate my work was a good feeling.
"You got a whole story going with this?” He picked up a few pages and glanced at them.
“It’s a really rough draft, and not much to look at. Here’s that phone book you wanted.” I dropped the thick book on top of the sheets. The colored pencils I was using to fill out my comic panels cascaded to the floor.
“Shit!” Wes hopped off the barstool at the same time I bent down to pick up the pencils. Crouching on the ground, our hands collided as we reached for the same pencil. Our eyes met as his palm engulfed the top of my hand. Looking up at his face, my breath caught.
His eyes were framed by thick, light blonde lashes, a spectacular contrast to his vibrant, deep blue eyes. I sunk into those pools of coolness as the warmth from his hand traveled up my arm and neck to heat my face.
The shutting of the front door effectively broke the weirdly charged moment. My mom must be home from work.
Drew, why is the door wide open?”
Yanking my hand from his, I shifted my gaze to the left to avoid eye contact. “I guess you get to meet my mom.”