Tainted By Our Choices

 

Tainted by our choices is a contemporary romance that has flashbacks, sex, environmental awareness, and a slight fixation on dessert. Potentially all at the same time.

Meet Jack. A successful environmental officer working within an industry that is so very far from his childhood dream of saving the planet, that he no longer recognizes himself. How he’s found himself in Houston, Texas, where he has no one, and nothing but his work for company, he tells himself repeatedly he doesn’t know. But when the place that became home had the heart sucked right out of it, and all around him were the remnants of a life he wouldn’t get to have, Jack ran, at the first opportunity given to him.

On a bright, sunny morning, Jack sees a face so familiar to him that he knows it better than his own, one that takes him back first to a beach in his childhood home of Tampa Bay, and second to a college in Boston where Jack learned – and lost – his heart.

Tainted by our choices is the story of first crushes, loves, and heartbreaks, and the fallout that left Jack clinging to his past. Join him on his rediscovery of himself, as a chance meeting reminds him of the life he always wanted to lead. Is he brave enough to live it?

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Poetry – Melt

Hello 😊

Along with the numerous short stories I post on here, I also have a poetry blog. It’s a mixture of my own poems and a little love for some of my favourites: if you’re interested then head to treeofpoe and take a look!

I’ll be posting a link a week to one of my poems over there so there’s a little more variety on this blog, and I’ll have new stories for you soon!

This week: Melt

 

At The Bus Station

It’s been exactly eight days, seven hours, and thirteen minutes since Damien saw Elias last, and as he cranes his neck to look for his bus pulling in to the station, Damien is convinced he can feel the seconds ticking by adding extra tension to his stomach.

Not that he’s been counting all that time passing, of course, nor spent hours mournfully staring up at the ceiling of his room unable to concentrate on anything but the fact that Elias isn’t with him. And it’s not even that long really since Damien’s been able to call Elias his boyfriend; only nine months and seventeen days. But with Elias being away for the past eight days, seven hours, and fourteen minutes, does that somehow wipe hours off that total? Since time has stolen Elias from him for all those days, does he have to reduce the time he can proudly boast of being his?

Of course not, Damien grumbles under his breath, apologising to the woman stood beside him also waiting as he jostles her, who scowls at him briefly from behind wide-rimmed glasses, then softens her expression into a kinder smile.

“I hate bus stations,” she sighs, turning her gaze back to the gap between two buildings that everyone around them is focussing on, where in a few short minutes, traffic being willing, Elias’ bus is going to come screeching around the corner and change Damien’s own grimace into a smile. “It’s the anticipation. Every bus that comes in, you think is going to be the one you’re looking for. And then you’re disappointed when it isn’t.”

It’s a little too profound for this cold, Monday morning, though Damien thinks he’s not being too melodramatic when he declares to himself that all Mondays are cold. All mornings, every moment when he’s not got Elias with him; which makes him sound like a possessive bastard, he then chides himself, and nods in answer to the woman waiting with him.

“Yeah,” he says, because he doesn’t know what else to, and shuffles in discomfort on the spot. He knows he set off far earlier than was necessary to meet Elias at the station, but the waiting there in his bedroom with nothing providing adequate distraction had him curling his fists into tight balls in the duvet one moment, then pacing the few metres of floor space there the next.

A bus appears then, the protest of its engine echoing around the bus station, making Damien’s blood surge until he sees it’s a local bus instead of a national one, and he’s sinking into disappointment all over again. That’s the seventh bus that’s taunted him with not being the one to deliver Elias to him, and though he knows it’s no one’s fault he’s cursing traffic jams, rude drivers that haven’t given way, and lane hoggers for delaying Elias getting back.

The bus isn’t even late yet, Damien sighs with a quick glance at the large clock suspended overhead to their side, glaring at the ticking of the seconds and not sure if he’s willing them to speed up to get Elias back to him, or pleading with them to stop, so this awful stretch of time without him doesn’t ache so much. Eight days, seven hours, and fifteen minutes might not sound all that much to anyone else, but to Damien, it’s like he’s been aware of every passing second.

The collective group anticipation of all those waiting for arrivals doesn’t help, Damien thinks, nudging a little closer to the woman stood beside him who he’s decided to name Chloe instead of profound woman, because she looks just like the librarian in his university library, even favours the same autumnal colours, apparently, in everything she wears. No; the air is thick with the tension of everybody waiting. He’s convinced he could bottle it, preserve it, then sell it to cinemas for films that are lacklustre, perk them up a little to get better reviews.

Damien’s housemate, Joanna, says he’s been like a tightly coiled spring all the time Elias has been gone, though she did admit she appreciated that his constant need to keep busy meant the bathroom’s never been so clean, and the kitchen cupboards never so meticulously organised. And it hasn’t helped at all seeing Joanna loved up in their lounge with her boyfriend; it’s been exactly like a serrated knife plunging into his gut every time the oaf has leaned in for a kiss.

Kevin’s not an oaf, Damien corrects himself, thinking of the smile he’s put on Joanna’s face ever since they’d stopped making eyes at each other from neighbouring tables in the local cafe half the university seems to go to. It’s just that he’s missing Elias so badly, that any unnecessary reminder that he’s gone is adding further greyness to his perpetual gloom without him.

Elias walked into his life around a year ago now, charging through the stiff door of the print shop where he works three days a week declaring it an outrage that his lecturer demanded a paper copy of his assignment when the entire world was now digital. He’d knocked into a stand of leaflets advertising their various services, nudged into a customer already waiting and sent the business cards they’d been inspecting at the counter scattering far and wide. Damian had looked up at the commotion and got stuck on the view of a cute, flustered student who he’d noticed around the campus a few times, and earned himself an embarrassed smile.

Damien swipes a thumb across his phone to see the same warm brown eyes smiling up at him from a face framed with thick curly hair, and unconsciously lets out a deep, longing sigh. Elias is cute, there’s no other way to put it, and he’s kind, gentle, clumsy as though everything in his path is either a target or an obstacle to get snagged to. He’s also a really good friend, as well as boyfriend; Damien’s excited to spend his time with Elias whatever they’re doing, even if it’s something as mundane as studying together on his couch.

What he’s going to do if Elias decides to change his mind about doing his masters at the same university next year, Damien doesn’t know, but he pushes the cruel concern about it to one side for another day, determined to enjoy every second of Elias’ company when he’s got him back with him and leave that conversation for another time. It’s now eight days, seven hours, and eighteen minutes since he saw Elias last, and he’s not going to ruin things by imagining all sorts of future possibilities, when the only future he’s currently interested in is the one that involves Elias stepping off that bus.

Another bus arrives, and then another, and a third in quick succession, and Damien’s mind decides to whisper things to him about potholes, careless drivers, buses veering off and down verges in the middle of nowhere, or crashing into the barrier of a motorway in a mangled heap. Should he call? Would Elias have kept his phone charged enough to let him know which hospital he’s been taken to? Would he even think to call him before anyone else; is Damien in his thoughts even half as much as Elias is in his?

Enough,” Damien announces in answer to his overactive imagination, then realises belatedly that he’s said it out loud. Chloe looks up at him in sympathy, and probably even amusement, and Damien has a new distraction; the creep of blush up his neck and cheeks that is bright enough to match Chloe’s coat. Damien stamps to get some feeling back into his legs for how long he’s been standing there in the cold, fantasises about walking hand in hand with Elias back to his house, tiptoeing around Elias’ housemates who are the reason they spend so much more time in Damien’s place than his.

What if he’s tired? What if the week-long field study he’s been on has exhausted him so much that all Elias wants to do is crawl into bed alone? What if he doesn’t want to see him at all? What if he’s got the location wrong, and the bus returning the group is dropping them off at the university instead of the bus station and Elias is waiting for him on this cold Monday morning growing increasingly annoyed with his absent-minded boyfriend for misreading his messages?

Messages, Damien thinks in a panic, frantically searching through their messages and slumping in relief that he’s got the place right. Then scrolls through to their latest messages, with Elias announcing they were setting off and what time they were due to arrive, and Damien’s heart gives a little pleased thud at the softness of his words. Can’t wait to see you either, he thinks, remembering not to say it out loud this time.

And then the private hire bus is pulling in around the corner, and Damien’s heart is thudding, sending blood rushing to his ears. He barrels forward with the rest of the crowd, each of them telling themselves they have the right to be first to welcome their passengers since they’ve been there the longest, then smiling at each other falsely as though they’re not thinking such things at all.

Chloe’s obviously not waiting for anyone on Elias’ bus, because as Damien’s stepped forward she has stayed in place, frowning down at her phone and probably wondering when her own person is going to arrive. But for Damien his eight days, seven hours, and twenty-one minutes is drawing to a close, as he searches through the passengers stood in the aisle on the bus pulling bags down from overhead storage, and tries to work out which one of them is Elias.

The doors open and passengers begin to step off, and Damien’s heart protests even louder for every stooped head he doesn’t recognise, every pair of legs not adorned with Elias’ favourite jeans. And then he’s there; slowly lifting his head to search the crowd for Damien, his face splitting into a smile, and he’s waving, gesturing with this thumbs towards the underside of the bus to say he’s got to pick up a bag.

Okay, Damien thinks, his heart beginning to settle, and warmth swirling its way through his gut, he’s fine now, he can see him. And in literal seconds he’ll be right there with him, and he can get him home, tuck him up, spend the day he’s taken off from everything else in only Elias’ company. Honestly, he can’t wait.

Damien watches Elias bend down to pull a bag out and loop it over the girl stood next to him, then retrieves another for a guy in front. And then he’s grabbing his own, hoisting it up and swinging it across his chest, adjusting it with a wriggle to get it comfortable, then turning and beaming at Damien.

Damien’s got about four hundred things he’s planning on telling him, several thousand clever sentences he’s rehearsed in clever greeting. But as Elias begins to pace towards him, Damien loses the ability to speak at all. The relief for seeing him has stolen the words from his tongue, and apparently, all he’s capable of doing is continuing to smile.

Elias comes to a stop in front of him, eyes flitting over his face as though to drink him in, relearn every one of his features as Damien knows he’s doing with him. And then he’s smiling even wider, closing the gap between them, pressing bodily against his chest and claiming a kiss that’s all relief, warmth, comfort, and want. Damien wraps his hands around his waist pulling Elias in tighter, splaying his fingers as wide as his gloves will allow, and for the first time in eight days, seven hours, and twenty-four minutes, feels that he can breathe deeply. He slots his fingers through Elias’ and squeezes, tugs until they’ve found a path through the still-gathered crowd, and proudly listens to all the details of Elias’ week away as he leads him home.

As Nature Intended – Extract

Elliot remembered with painful clarity the events that had led up to the exact moment he thought his life might be effectively over.

One early evening the week after his fourteenth birthday during a sweltering summer, Elliot was stood on his aunt Ellie’s porch in the still blazing sun, sipping on homemade lemonade, when he first felt an unfamiliar ache in his lower back. He and his cousin Sebastian had been busy playing with the family’s new puppy, chasing it back and forth across the lawn, and in and out of the small cluster of trees at the bottom of the garden for most of the day, so it had taken him a while to notice, acknowledging far too late that the pain had been with him since early that morning.

By the time the sun finally set, Elliot’s skin was glistening with sweat, and a fever raged just beneath the surface like an itch he couldn’t scratch. His pulse raced, his heart trembled with a sense of anticipation, and coursing through his entire body was the palpable need to be ready, all radiating out from a point deep inside himself that ached in a way he didn’t understand.

Aunt Ellie had sent him to bed with pain relief and a soothing kiss to his temple, a grim set to her jaw that told Elliot even then, that she knew something that he did not. And when the following morning came, when that ache and need had him writhing and moaning in unaccustomed agony, leaving him trying to seek friction, and fullness that he couldn’t place, Elliot understood. With quiet horror, he moved, feeling a leaking slickness coming from him that soaked straight through his clothes and the sheets beneath him on the bed, leaving him unable to deny his new truth.

Omega.

An oppressive stillness had come to him then, forcing up memories of biology classes in school that he’d thought he’d tuned out at the time. About how somewhere along the line of humanity, it had become possible for both men and women to conceive offspring, and that from that development was borne the Alpha, Beta and Omega dynamic. Betas carried on much as regular people always had done throughout human history, but instinct drove Alphas to impregnate, and Omegas to get pregnant, with those needs underwriting every aspect of an Alpha or Omega’s life. During a period of population crisis, the allele for Omega had shifted from recessive to dominant, and Alpha to recessive, with geneticists theorizing it was because a single Alpha could impregnate many Omegas, and were therefore in an evolutionary sense far less essential. Elliot remembered joking about telling that to his Alpha friends, and the laughs it had gotten around the class.

Elliot also remembered from those classes the apparent fucked up way the human body chose to reproduce. How once upon a time, many, many generations ago, when the world was evidently an even worse state than it was then in Elliot’s lifetime, women could carry a healthy baby to full term at around nine months. But in Elliot’s lifetime, male Omegas statistically proved stronger breeders, had overall better fertility, could endure gestation periods of almost eight months, where most Beta women, if they made it at all, could barely cope with six. Omega women fell somewhere in between, and considered very rare, but were still at higher risk of complications than Omega men.

That only two genders were legally recognized, when an entire spectrum of creation, and existing was possible between people, would continue to baffle Elliot, even then, in that moment, trapped in a sterile waiting room where he was waiting for his results to be confirmed and unable to stop his thoughts from wandering, desperate for good news.

He had already paced around the room several times, pausing once or twice to glare at his reflection in the mirror to critique his appearance, taking in the family trait of strawberry blond hair that on his cousin Sebastian appeared red in places yet on himself Elliot could only think to describe as dirty. Pale blue eyes stared back at him, accusatory and mocking, goading him into actions he wanted no part of, until he had to turn away, only to be drawn back once again to looking at all his flaws, seeking out a visible reason for his predicament.

Elliot strained to hear the nurse beyond the closed door, but only muffled voices taunted him. The waiting left him incensed with fear, because the last thing he needed was for what was happening to him then to really be happening. But he could feel it intensifying in him, his instincts fighting to be allowed to surface and force him into wanting things he really didn’t want to think about. There was no other word for it; Elliot was frightened. He remembered that first, overwhelming heat, when he’d thrashed and begged for things he didn’t know, couldn’t understand, as his family stood by helpless and unable to do anything for him, and that aching sense of hard arousal so out of place in his innocent fourteen-year-old body that left him feeling wrong, and broken. Corrupted.

He remembered scaring Sebastian, only a year younger than him yet almost the same height, his petrified eyes peering at Elliot through a crack in the door as Uncle Bernard and Aunt Ellie tried to soothe him, tried not to look at Elliot as though he was different, something fearsome to them, because they didn’t really know what they needed to do.

Elliot remembered hearing Uncle Bern’s panicked call to his already-absent father, Carl, and his subsequent though much-delayed arrival, only to glance over Elliot with callous eyes that told Elliot one thing; this was his final failure as a son being what he was.

Remembering all those things, Elliot couldn’t, wouldn’t allow the Omega in him to rise and force such mindless need on him. It would not be his reality, and he would do all he could to fight it, whatever it took. He closed his eyes to the final assault of his most painful of memories. Of overhearing snatches of a phone conversation between his aunt and a doctor. Of being given sedatives, then picked up and carried in gentle, loving arms, bundled into a car and driven to an imposing-looking clinic to figure this out.

The Heat suppressants prescribed for him at the time, a carton of pills pushed across a pharmacy counter into his trembling young hands and clutched there as though they were his lifeline, had worked ever since. He’d lived normal – as normal as he could do, anyway, and more than that, he’d lived well. They couldn’t fail him, not after how hard he had worked.

Those muffled voices he still couldn’t make out were ending their conversation. Elliot swallowed hard and straightened in his chair, then leapt up to follow the nurse as soon as she appeared to beckon him into an office. He sat rigidly and watched her work, precise fingers typing furiously at a computer, not paying him any attention until she had completed what she needed to do.

“So?” Elliot asked, the moment she looked up at him, because patience was not a gift he’d been blessed with. “Tell me.”

The nurse looked at him kindly, and it was the worst look Elliot could have hoped to receive. Without her even opening her mouth, enough hesitance in the nurse’s expression for Elliot to know what she was about to tell him.

“It would seem, Mr. Roderick, that the reason your suppressors have ceased working to full effectiveness is because your body is ready for you to breed,”

***

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Sunday Thinking

Happy Sunday!

I have no exciting news this week, only things stuck in my head that I’m deciding to inflict on other people so I don’t have to keep hearing them… I’m good like that!

So first, the poem that’s been on repeat since Monday, I think:

Not Waving But Drowning, Stevie Smith

And You’ll Never Stop Me From Loving You by Sonia… I don’t want to think what put it in my head and I’m desperate to get it back out again! Sorry…

 

In The Car

They have Josh’s younger brother staying with them for a long weekend, and in a surprising display of modesty, Grant had arrived home Friday night to a murmur from Josh about adjoining bedroom walls, barely able to contain a burst of laughter for Josh acting so out of character demure and only greeting him with a brief kiss on the cheek. But Josh’s comments about needing to keep their hands to themselves in Toby’s company, is apparently easier said than done for Josh. Because every spare second Toby’s been out of their sight, Josh is on him like a man starved. Grant’s not complaining, obviously, but he is thoroughly amused.

Toby hasn’t been out the car more than a second to pick up a book he’s ordered when Josh’s hand is in Grant’s jeans. Grant gulps in surprise, but he can’t help respond to Josh as he does, every single time. Besides, it’s technically been a few days.

Josh smirks knowingly over at him, pauses for a moment to lick his hand, then starts again, squeezing and pulling and stroking Grant in all the ways he’s learned will make him whimper the most. Grant’s head thumps back against the seat, his half-hearted protest long dead in his throat. His eyes drift down to watch Josh’s hand on him, and he moans, spreading his legs as far as the denim and confined space will allow.

Josh smears precum down his length, and Grant lets out a mumbled curse. He has a single thought of what a mess he’s about to make, but it seems Josh is a mind reader, because his mouth is then down and on him in less than a second.

Grant clenches and unclenches his hands, letting out a single grunt as he tries to writhe in his seat. He can’t move far; he’s being kept firmly in place by Josh’s forearm pressing hard into his thighs to keep him in place. Josh’s tongue swirls over his head, and he takes a moment to grin up at Grant, before sucking him down again. Grant lets out a grunt in response not having any words left in him.

He watches Josh bob his head up and down, feels himself building, wonders at his luck, and then comes with a soft huff of a groan, closing his eyes to the parking lot they’re idling the engine in since Toby had insisted he wouldn’t be long enough for them to have to pay to park.

Josh sucks him dry, roughly wiping his mouth with the back of his hand as he sits back up, and then reaches over to re-button Grant, who feels like he might not even be able to drive.

When Toby returns to the car, he has to search for it, surprised that they’ve pulled into a space instead of idling by the side. He ducks to peer inside and finds Grant snoring softly in the front seat, and Josh curled against the window with his eyes closed and a smile on his face.

Josh cracks one eye open as though he feels Toby watching, and his face morphs into a smug smile, seconds before he realizes he’s doing it. When his cheeks light up with blush, Toby snorts, thinking his brother still see him as a kid, and doesn’t know exactly what him and Grant would usually be doing if he wasn’t staying with them. He yanks the car door open hard enough to startle Grant awake, grins at him when he looks around, and stretches out on the back seat with a long suffering sigh.

Tainted By Our Choices – Extract

Jack stretched up just enough to peek down through the tinted glass of his office window at the protesters gathered outside holding hand painted placards and could only bring himself to sigh. They had moved in that morning, encroaching on all the best parking spaces in the parking lot and chanting angry slogans that Jack thought perhaps were kind of funny but would do nothing to stop what was going to happen.

The fracking would be going ahead, whether anyone objected to it or not. Works had all been approved, reams upon reams of paperwork signed and countersigned, and if some bureaucracy involving clandestine deals and exchanges of money between those further up the chain and the local authorities had happened, well. It was absolutely nothing to do with him. Jack had done his job. He had produced the environmental report that had helped win them the contract, carefully detailing all of the possible risks and hazards involved, right down to potentially affected species in the local vicinity, and models indicating the likelihood of contaminated water coming into contact with nearby residential supplies.

With another sigh, Jack looked over his mostly-completed work for the morning and pushed himself back from his desk, spinning one full circuit on his chair before coming to a stop, then doing the same the other way. He stood with an exaggerated stretch, wandering over to rattle the cafetiere and frowning at its betrayal when he found it to be empty.

With every intention of topping up from the coffee machine in the break room, Jack made his way there, the voices drifting out to him immediately changing his mind. He took a brief stop in the restroom and gave himself a quick glance over in the mirror as he washed his hands, tugging at his hair and telling himself that lighter color was definitely blond, not gray, in his usual brown.

Biting down on his lip as he debated with himself with himself, Jack decided on a local bakery with excellent coffee and even better cakes, then shrugged into his suit jacket and headed out. If he was staying late as usual to go over those complex habitat surveys for their most recent site acquisition, and had to survive the dreaded afternoon meeting, caffeine and sugar would be essentials to get him through his day.

With a carefree jog, he took the stairs down, noting with no real surprise that the chants outside grew louder and even angrier the closer he got to the exit. Giving a brief nod to the receptionist Jack stepped out into the bright, sunny morning, shielding his squinting eyes behind sunglasses from both the sun itself and the attention of those protesting. His face became a neutral mask as he passed the group buzzing like irate bees over to his right, hoping they wouldn’t pay him any attention. This wasn’t his first experience with opposition against what the company did and he’d learned early on to feign indifference, despite what he might really think.

A mop of messy black hair caught his attention, though, as it always did, whispering to him to take a look just in case. Jack’s gaze turned casually in the group’s direction as he continued walking, coming to a complete, shuddering stop and ripping his glasses off in disbelief as he watched pale blue eyes look him up and down in contempt, then spark with recognition before narrowing in quiet fury. His stomach sank and his mouth grew dry, and the only sound Jack could hear in that moment was the misplaced shriek of the crashing of waves.

1993

On a clear day, when the sky was the brightest blue and the reflection the sea gave back just as vivid, it made Jack feel like he could stare out at the horizon forever and never know where one started and the other began. The waves roared away any sense of unrest he might be feeling, waxing and waning with soothing sounds that never ceased to keep him calm.

Jack had been visiting this beach since before he could even walk, crawling along the sand and fisting it up into his chubby palms, squealing at the crunch and squeak of it between his fingers. He remembered helping his little brother build his first sand castle and watching the water lick it away one misshapen turret at a time. He remembered a red checkered picnic blanket pinned down beneath a cooler box to stop it blowing away, and laughter as he chased a corner of it that got repeatedly caught up in the breeze. Happy memories were what Jack had when he thought of this place. Happiness and home.

Today was not a clear day. The normally creamy colored sand was painted with jet black slickness, foam churning up gray against the shoreline. As if in sympathy the sky was dull and flat, clouds outlined with dirty smudges that bled into one another. It seemed to Jack in that moment as though all the color had been drained from the world. The waves rolled in as they always did, as they always had, but on that day, could do nothing to bring stillness to Jack, as each crest spewed out further victims of the oil slick everywhere he looked.

Though surrounding him was a flurry of activity, with rescue workers rushing about clad from head to foot in once white hazmat-like suits and carrying bird after bird away to cleaning stations further up the shore, the only noise that got through to him, that broke Jack’s continual horror at what he was seeing all around him was one of heartbroken, hiccupping sobbing.

A boy knelt off to his right, gently stroking his fingers over a bird whose head, he had rested across his lap at an unnatural angle. The oil from the bird’s feathers left glossy rivulets of black running down the sides of his thighs, and he continued his gentle path along its back as though touch alone could bring it back to life. A trembling hand ran over the flat of the bill, tracing against the curved tip that suggested a hint of its natural red color beneath the poisonous black that every other inch of the bird was coated in like a terrible second skin.

Jack looked at the boy’s mass of messy hair and decided it was the exact same shade as the oil staining his fingers. He stepped closer to him, his own heart heavy despite what he’d been witnessing all morning. His footfall caught the boy’s attention, and when he looked up at Jack with a quivering lip and piercing blue eyes rimmed red with tears, Jack felt an inexplicable need to bring him comfort.

Now

“Dylan,” Jack choked out, utter disbelief rippling through his voice as he continued to stare at him open-mouthed. Dylan glowered back at him, dropping the oversized placard he was holding down to waist height and resting his hands along the top of it in a fierce grip. He glanced up behind Jack at the office complex snorting in derision before dropping his eyes back down to Jack’s face in blatant scorn.

“You work here?” he asked, incredulous, a furious glare pinning Jack in place.

“Yeah,” Jack mumbled, and for a second he felt determined not to show any of the shame that surged through him just from being in Dylan’s presence. He managed a full three seconds of maintaining eye contact then found his gaze dropped to the tarmac beneath their feet.

“How the hell did you end up in Houston? Working here of all places?” Dylan demanded, so full of anger Jack struggled not to take a step back from it.

“I-”

“So, this is what you’ve become, huh?”

“Dyl…” Jack pleaded, lost for any other words to say. What was he supposed to say? What could he, after all this time, without it sounding like a string of poor excuses?

As though reading his mind Dylan rolled his eyes, glaring back at him with ice lighting those eyes that Jack had first stared back at so long ago. “Thought you wanted to change the world, Jack? Not rip it apart from the inside out,”

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Poetry – Hera

Hello 😊

Along with the numerous short stories I post on here, I also have a poetry blog. It’s a mixture of my own poems and a little love for some of my favourites: if you’re interested then head to treeofpoe and take a look!

I’ll be posting a link a week to one of my poems over there so there’s a little more variety on this blog, and I’ll have new stories for you soon!

This week: Hera

 

A Pit Stop

“Are you embarrassed by me, Grant?”

Josh’s voice is quiet; that low, growling pitch that, depending on the circumstance, either has Grant pleased he’s rarely on Josh’s bad side, or falling to his knees in reverent worship the way only he gets to worship Josh.

“What? ‘Course not,” Grant replies quickly, wondering where Josh is going with this, and also what he’s done wrong. He’s been so tense about taking Josh home to meet his family, that he’s spent the week leading up to it overthinking every step, and overplanning every word.

“Then why,” Josh continues, slowly, making Grant’s heart thud loud, “do you repeatedly keep stepping away from me, as though I am not to be seen with you?”

Grant darts his eyes down the aisle of the supermarket they’re in and steps away from the cart he’s pushing, hands dropping to his sides. “Josh,” he begins, guiltily, trying to work out what to say, and coming up with nothing.

He feels tight, on edge being in his hometown, that’s full of narrow-minded people he’d avoided as much contact with as possible when growing up. And though his parents and sisters have welcomed Josh with open arms, there’s been several sets of other disapproving eyes on them wherever they’ve been. So perhaps he is holding back; not reaching for Josh in the usual affection he does when they’re back in their own home. He’s not meaning to do it, but if he’s hurting Josh by doing it—which Grant knows he must be doing from the look on his face—then he’s got to snap out of it, meant or not.

“Shit. Sorry, Josh. It’s not intentional at all,” and to prove his point, Grant leans over to Josh and gives him a sweet, apologetic kiss. Josh remains as still as stone.

“I’m sorry,” Grant whispers against Josh’s lips, then kissing along his cheek, and the edge of his jaw where he feels it clench beneath him. He has no problem with being seen with Josh in public, not one.

Josh nudges him until his back is against the shelves behind him, and Grant is convinced the entire thing rocks from the force of it. But he’s not caring at all; he’s too busy trying to keep up with Josh’s tongue as it fights its way around his mouth, and Josh’s hips as they grind up against him in claim.

Here? Do you have to, Grant?”

Grant feels Josh’s mouth pause, feels the indignance of being interrupted churning through his entire body, before he steps away from Grant and straightens his shirt for him from where he’s rucked it up. Josh turns away, indifferent, walking down the aisle behind Deacon, the owner of the store, who stands, glaring at Grant.

“Grant,” Deacon hisses, reaching up and covering his eyes in a sure sign of trying to keep his tongue in check. “I’ve got no problem with you or your boyfriend. But that shelving’s on its last legs; getting the whole place refurbed next month. And if that thing collapses on someone the other side with you two doing… whatever you were about to do, it’s on your head.”

Grant’s face burns with how much he’s blushing. Deacon’s been serving him since he’s been old enough to go to the store by himself. He mumbles an apology, bows his head to avoid eye contact, and pushes the cart to the checkout, where Tina, the store assistant helping Deacon, beams at him in mirth as she rings up his purchases.

Josh is folded armed and flush-cheeked against the side of the car when Grant gets outside, glancing at him guiltily as he begins to fill the trunk.

“I didn’t mean to embarrass you in front of—”

Grant presses Josh up against the car and kisses him hard, humming softly as Josh’s arms loop around him.

“I know you didn’t,” Grant agrees when they pull back, nuzzling against him.

“I know I shouldn’t let myself get insecure about this kind of stuff, and—”

“Don’t worry about it,” Grant smiles, kissing him again. “I’m sorry I did anything to make you feel insecure.”

Josh sighs, nodding, fingers toying with Grant’s shirt as they always do when he’s feeling a little out of his depth. But then he’s kissing him again, and this time it’s gentle, taking what they need from each other and forgetting everything else. And when they pull back again, there are easier smiles for them both.

“I still want you,” Josh tells him with a squeeze around his waist, and intent in his eye that leaves Grant swallowing awkwardly.

“And you can still have me,” Grant promises with a wink. “Just… maybe not right here.”

“It’s not like we can go back to your parents and disappear upstairs with some lame excuse,” Josh sighs, his thumb sneaking in between them, discreetly brushing along his length.

“No, it’s not,” Grant agrees, wide-eyed that Josh would even do that in the middle of this parking lot when he doesn’t ever do stuff like that back home. But then he gets an idea that’s likely to get them both into trouble, and he can’t think of anything else. “C’mon.”

Grant drives them to the edge of town where there’s a mid-sized restaurant sharing a parking lot with a new supermarket he’s adamant wasn’t here the last time he visited. Grant grabs Josh’s hand the moment they’re out of the car and tugs him forward, keeping his head down, determined not to see anyone he knows. He drags him inside, then once more into a restroom, and firmly bolts the door behind them.

Josh’s eyes are wide in surprise for all of a second, but then there’s a triumphant smile on his face. And as he saunters towards Grant he’s already unbuttoning himself, never taking his eyes off Grant’s, pressing on his shoulders wordlessly asking him to kneel, then utters a single instruction. “Suck.”

Which of course, Grant does, more than willingly. He pushes down Josh’s jeans and boxers further, gripping his fingers into his cheeks and kneading one minute, then cupping his balls gently the next. He licks, sucks, and teases in all the ways he knows Josh likes, then pulls off him to suck his own fingers into his mouth, and slowly presses one into Josh’s hole as he takes him back in his mouth.

Josh grunts, rocking forward a little as Grant strokes his finger slowly in and out whilst lapping his tongue over his head. But Josh wants more, apparently, because he pulls Grant up abruptly, backing him against the door and kissing him hungrily, as he unbuttons Grant’s jeans and shoves them down, boxers and all, as far as they will go.

He strokes him a little, grinning at the groan Grant gives in response, and then turns to look around the room in a sort of panic. Relief is instant; his eyes fall upon a vending machine, and he hits it in a way that makes a packet of lube and three strawberry flavored condoms fall out into the sink below. Grant’s cock twitches at the sight.

Josh tosses the condoms away—one of the many perks of being in a committed relationship for coming up to three years now—and turns back to Grant with a look of pure intent. Grant gulps at the sound of the packet being ripped open, and Josh does this magic thing that Grant loves; at least, he thinks it’s magic, it feels magic even though it’s probably not. But Grant is babbling to himself either way as Josh systematically slips his fingers slowly inside him one at a time, in time with his tongue thrusting into Grant’s mouth. Grant rocks down on Josh’s fingers, giving a little whine when the angle strikes just right against his prostate.

“I need to see you,” Josh says hastily, before somehow pulling one of Grant’s legs free so he’s standing with his clothes flapping around the other leg only. And then Grant’s holding on to whatever he can, as Josh lifts and spreads him wide open, slowly pressing into him with a long, appreciative groan.

Josh pauses for just enough time for Grant to adjust then is staking his claim, as fast and hard as he can without breaking either Grant or the sink he’s somehow gripping on to and fucking Grant up against. It’s not the most comfortable of positions, but it works. It’s efficient, hitting all the right angles in all the good spots, with them both muffling their groans in each other’s necks, just about conscious of the noise traveling beyond the door of the restaurant bathroom.

After, when Josh wipes Grant down, swiping away his come from between their chests with the bathroom tissue that’s sticking to him in chunks, the look in Josh’s eye is smug and thankful. They straighten each other up both grimacing at the mess they’ve made of each other, mumbling about how good a shower would be right now if they could only find an excuse for it when they get back to the house.

When they’re outside, Josh presses Grant gently against the wall outside the bathroom with one last long kiss, humming against his lips before pulling back with a smile.