<3 this effing photo! gah! So these are our guys. Mark (r) and Tyler (l). *swoon* They were awesome to write and even funner to look at. Haha. Gah at that smile on Tyler.
And now i give you excerpt love (aka The Prologue):
I couldn’t believe it when I saw him across the room. This man whom I had known my whole life and harboured a crush on for years was across the room from me, in that place of all places. A gay bar.
If he was gay it was news to me. And I was definitely praying he was, had been for a long damn time.
He was as stunning as the last time I had seen him. His tuft of brown hair was looking more fashionably dishevelled in this setting than his typically neatly cropped look that he wore in his uniform. I guess that was to be expected after he left his job months ago, which was also the last time I had seen him. His eyes held a sparkle when he spotted me that I had not seen in them before. And they found mine looking at him from the bar.
That chance encounter in the club the night before had ended with us in his new studio apartment in midtown Atlanta. I was adjusting my eyes remembering the night before, and had just registered whose bed I was in this morning. A small flush of shame soon turned to a warm need as his hand caressed the small of my back.
“Good morning, Tyler.” His voice held sleep and I stretched like a cat under his soft caresses of my back then turned to look at him. His green eyes were warm but he looked like he was uncertain as to whether I would bolt now that I was no longer inebriated. I swallowed the small amount of guilt that I was feeling and gave into the fantasy that was this moment. I had wanted to see that sleepy gaze since I realized I was in love with this man five years ago while visiting home from college.
Five years ago. Four years before he left his wife. The first night I saw a human being and an equal rather than someone who had been a bit of a mystery to me my whole adolescent life. I think I was probably the only person who still held this man in kind resolve. I hoped that was not the only reason I was in his bed.
And I could not fathom it because we had never figured out why he left his wife. Everyone had been so busy being angry that they had not realized that this was why the man was so upset that he had up and left behind everything he had known. I guess the road to happiness was a long and complicated one for some people, but for every guilty thought I had about what we had done I had always recognized an innate loneliness in him that made me feel connected to him. Taking away someone’s loneliness was never shameful. And this was him.
I was in Mark Riley’s bed. And that was inexplicably the best thing that had happened in my short life. And he was smiling at me like that.
I looked at the clock on the bedside table and winced. “More like afternoon, you mean.”
He laughed gently. “So. Surprise. I’m gay.”
My look at him was sarcastic. “Well, I think the soreness in my ass is testament to that statement, Mr. Riley.” I meant the Mr. Riley as a joke but he had to stop himself from recoiling. I placed a gentle hand on his chest. “Hey, I was just joshin’ you.”
“Well, no more Mr. Riley, okay, Ty. I already feel like I just officially proved their mid-life crisis theory.” He rolled onto his back and rubbed his hands over his face.
“They’re assholes.” I said, pulling his hands from his face and looked into his eyes. Oh those green eyes that were always so serious looked like a weight had been lifted, even in his moment of uncomfort. “You seem so—less serious.”
“You don’t have to defend me. I know I made some bad decisions. I just can’t believe you’re here.”
I huffed and smiled. “Ditto. And besides. I’m 27. I’m not some kid. And you’re only thirty-eight. I’ve been with older. I am a lawyer. Most of the guys I’ve dated have been other attorneys I’ve worked with.” He looked jealous?
“Ty, why did you approach me last night? I wouldn’t have freaked at seeing you, but why did you come to me?”
I blushed. “I’ve had crush on you since my 21st birthday party.” It was his turn to blush. That night he had had a row with his wife over the alcohol Andy had consumed. It was probably one of a handful of times I had actually seen him at home. One of his ex wife’s biggest complaints was that he was married to the job. He was never home. I only knew of him for the longest time from hearing him mentioned around the home when I was hanging out there.
I knew he was a cop, and I knew he was high up. He was always busy with some case. The Riley’s always seemed to be fighting about it. On the phone, the few times I’d seen the man in person; it was almost tradition that they disrupt a neighborhood barbeque. Don’t get me wrong, I liked his ex wife, Jackie, but I never had understood their still being married.
That night Mark had been so flustered and I thought he looked lonelier than anyone I had ever seen. As he was sitting on the swing set in their back yard smoking a cigarette I decided to finally get to know the man. So I took him a beer and sat next to him. He didn’t have his well put-together Detective Mark Riley façade on that night. He was just Mark. In fact that was the night he said to drop the Mr. Riley bit and just call him Mark. We had talked a lot. About my dreams of law school and that he was thinking of leaving the force.
Three years later he had quit the force, and the next year left his wife without really giving a reason other than saying that it was time. No one understood but I always remembered that night on the swing set and guess I just got it.
Now, I truly understood. And had benefitted from it, even though no one would really understand my newfound involvement, either.
“That’s flattering.” He rubbed a finger down my cheek, looking at me like he was surprised.
Just then my cell phone started blaring.
I dug in my jeans and he gave my ass a gentle slap, but he stopped looking so playful when I sat bolt upright staring at my phone’s display.
Shit. “Shit.” I thought it bore verbalizing.
“Andy?” He sighed. I shushed him as I answered.
“What’s up, Andy?” I tried not to sound guilty.
“Dude, fuck that. You’re late! Our moms and your sister are here waiting for you for this lunch that was your idea and you’re the fucker that’s running late.”
“I know, man. I just got—hung up.” I suck at excuses. Andy just gave a grunt that meant he was smirking.
“Well tell the flavour of the day to put his dick in his pants, you have family obligations.” And he hung up. I looked over at Mark shame faced.
“We’re all doing lunch. Me, my family and yours.” I completely understood the guilt playing out on his face because I felt it too.
Yes. His son, Andy, though four years my junior, is my best friend.