Blast From the Past

father-2770301_960_720My absent father wanted to speak to me, maybe meet up, and I… I could barely stand to think about reconnecting or whatever.

“I can’t deal with a nightmare from my past right now” I told my mother.

She laughed at me. “You’re so dramatic. That’s a bright side, huh? You won’t even have to come out to your dad, just say that.”

“Ugh,” I groaned. “Shut up.”  Drinking and denial were better than drudging up the past. This conversation was proof. Shit.

“I’m just asking,” she said gently. “It’s your decision.” She was using a weird kind tone I didn’t like. Mom typically took the tough love approach with me these days. Her parenting advice normally involved stern words and phrases like ‘stop being a dumbass’ and ‘make smart decisions because I’m not paying for bail.’

“What would we even talk about?” Dad and I hadn’t had anything in common, something he worried about often. I wasn’t a ‘normal boy’ who’d liked sports and bugs and whatever normal boys were supposed to like. “Maybe dad and I will just hug and go play catch?” I quipped. Oh god, what if he really did want to play catch? He didn’t hide his disappointment at my inability to play sports very well when I was younger, but I was stronger now.

Mom thought about it. “Maybe you could guilt him into buying you beer.”

I laughed. “Tempting.”

She walked to stand in front of me. “I’ve got to go to work.” She bent down and kissed my forehead. I scowled as she smiled back at me. “Make good decisions, dumbass.”

Excerpt from What Love Means

Daily Prompt: Guilty

A Chance Encounter

A young guy in sunglasses posing in front of camera

Bodies filled the decrepit, rusting building while the chilly night air had many openings to invade the space inside the run-down walls of the old warehouse. Maybe that was why several empty barrels held fires or maybe that was for ambiance. It didn’t seem like this forgotten place would have any electricity, yet someone somehow got music playing.

People cheered and danced while the booze flowed liberally. Then glow sticks appeared. This was going to turn into a rave. I fucking hated raves. I missed the days when it was just me and the guys breaking into some ramshackle place that no one even used or cared about but went through the trouble of locking anyway.

And now snobs infiltrated the party, their stares boring into me – the scowling guy who filled out his leather jacket – with disdain and grudging interest. Rich kids were all the same, with critical eyes and upturned noses, both envious and judging of those below them. Good to fool around with sometimes but that was all they were good for.

I grabbed a drink so I’d be able to get through this night. Okay, I was probably going to have a couple drinks anyway but this one I threw back too fast to make the EDM and snobs bearable.

Finding someone to spend the evening with would normally make a night like this perfect. However, an unexpected surge of déjà vu stopped my perusal of the assembled bodies. This night felt like all the others but not in a good way. Nothing out of the ordinary would happen, just drinking, dancing, and partying. Even the preppy kids looking for a spot of rough in their polished, perfect lives happened regularly enough to not warrant surprise.

I’d just turned 18 but suddenly felt old. This life was new and thrilling a few years ago, so how could I be tired of it already? It seemed bland: the same thing I did last week and would do again next week. I wasn’t out of high school yet but, as I didn’t plan on attending college, more of the same was my likely future. That shouldn’t be a bad thing… except being a teenage delinquent had become the norm. I had enough older friends with loose morals that even getting alcohol for my underage self wasn’t a thrill or challenge.

I was no longer part of this event but outside of it even though I was in the middle of revelers. I stood separate from them as noise and laughter and neon lights flittered around me without touching me. I was at a distance, a million miles away and right there at the same time, looking at it all with detached disinterest and wondering how I got here.

It’s like all the atmosphere had to travel a great length until it reached my senses. When the distance snapped, it was a rush. All of it hit me at once, colliding into me like a freight train and nearly making me stagger: the pounding music, the movement of limbs, him.

Why had I been down? All it took was an intriguing guy to snap me out of it. Amazing what a pretty face and a nice body could do. I didn’t mind listening to shitty music and being surrounded by a sweaty crowd since he was here too. Nothing was wrong with my life; I just needed some action.

Rebellious teens looking for a good time poured into places like this as soon as word got out about a party. Gotta love technology. It made him stand out more because instead of tight clothes and club gear, he looked like he came here straight from the library or country club. He wore pressed brown pants, somehow still perfect despite this atmosphere, and a stupid preppy shirt with a little animal logo on it. Lots of people dug bad boys but not me. I played the bad boy, so I enjoyed the innocent ones.

He looked like the kind of guy I had absolutely nothing in common with, but I only needed him to be attracted to me too. We didn’t need to talk. I felt a surge of adrenaline spread through my body, not from a motorcycle ride this time, from interest while I prepared to make my move. I imagined running my hands through that perfect gelled hair. His blond locks changed color with all the neon lights in here now, becoming purple, blue, pink for an instant. The lights played over his sharp classical features while my hands itched with the need to touch.

I wasn’t superstitious, but the fingers of my left hand played with the threaded turquoise bracelet around my right wrist without any conscious thought on my part. It was like a good luck charm as I drifted in behind him and pressed my body close to his. He stiffened yet didn’t pull away immediately. He seemed like the type that mostly stayed indoors with a skinny frame and pale skin in the light of day. I wondered if I’d feel his ribs through his shirt as I moved to the music and brushed my hands along his torso, but his unassuming figure hid lithe muscles.

I ran my hands up and down his arms while his biceps flexed under the attention like he couldn’t help it. His skin felt warm and electric. Though the drink I had might have dulled my senses some, any fog in my mind melted away by touching him. My body buzzed and responded to him, senses awakening, all demanding to get as much of him as possible. I wanted to feast on his smell and taste and touch.

My hands moved down his thin but toned body, tightening minutely on his waist, and then he was out of my grasp. My stomach dropped but that’s stupid… there were other guys, gay ones or those who got brave enough to experiment after consuming too much liquor. He probably had a girlfriend and was almost definitely some snobby rich kid. I’d find someone else. I could do better. Except something about him felt magnetic; I’d be drawn in his direction the whole night even if he walked away.

Only he didn’t go far. He turned and looked at me. Maybe I imagined the spark of fire in his eyes or maybe he felt the electricity between us too. His body moved close to mine again as both our hands explored this time. He smelled clean, with a hint of something sharper and appealing. Bright blue eyes peeked at me from beneath his lashes as he sent me a smile that was more shy and uncertain than coy, but his nerves didn’t stop him. He held me tight and rocked his hips into mine in time with the music. God, I wanted to devour him.

Was I in a mood earlier? I didn’t remember. There’s only dancing, drinks, and him. And life was anything but predictable because he made the first move. I couldn’t say whether we spent minutes or hours on the dancefloor when his lips captured mine and a quick tongue slid into my mouth, greedy and demanding, while his hands groped and squeezed at my ass.

I only had one complaint after that: the night passed too quickly.

Prompt -Thin

Real or Fake? M/M romance

The breakup scene from a supposedly fake relationship:

We need to talk,” Luke told me. A classic break up line. He couldn’t even be creative about it?

“I don’t have time,” I said, shutting my locker and walking away. A small, stupid part of me actually wanted him to let me walk away, wanted this charade between us to continue.

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“Yeah, you never seem to have enough time for me,” he told my retreating back.

I spun around dramatically, intending to add flair to this scene. “We’re going to do this here?” I asked skeptically like we shouldn’t do this in public, but I raised my voice to catch more attention.

“We have to do this here because you’ve been avoiding me for days.” He sounded annoyed and I wondered if it was genuine. I had been avoiding him.

“You’re being dramatic,” I scolded.

“I’m the dramatic one?” He scoffed. “You love being the center of attention.” We were definitely the center of attention now: a crowd of eager onlookers had formed around us. Some looked uncomfortable while others were enjoying this, but they all seemed interested. I saw our friends Alicia and Lydia among the rest.

“Says the guy who is literally at the center of every baseball game,” I retorted.

“I’m the pitcher,” he said, exasperated, and a few of the guys on his team nodded at that.

“Don’t bring the bedroom into this!” I couldn’t help it.

Luke’s expression went confused for a second, trying to figure that out while the crowd murmured. I probably lost most of them with that one, but I had to fight a grin as I watched Alicia and Lydia dissolving into laughter and trying to hide it, turning towards each other and giggling helplessly.

Thrown off track, Luke went in a different direction. “I know what’s really going on here. Do you think I’m an idiot?”

I raised one eyebrow. “You want me to answer that?”

“You’re interested in him,” Luke spat out. I regretted not coming up with a plan. I hadn’t known the reason he’d give for our breakup.

“You’re jealous?” I asked, trying not to fidget.

“Hard not to be when my boyfriend is checking out someone else every time I turn around.”

There were a few football players in the crowd who had been watching in horror, unable to look away, but now they nodded after what Luke said. Luke was already more popular than me and better looking, and I was the cheating partner. He’d win our breakup.

It shouldn’t matter. I should just get this over with but I wanted something. I wanted to win. He was going back to being straight and likable, and I’d be the gay cheater whose social status plummeted impossibly lower. And everyone would wonder how I could be dumb enough to cheat on the captain of the baseball team when I was lucky to have him in the first place.

Luke smiled and started to turn away. Nope, he wasn’t going to leave me here humiliated and alone. “I’m sorry,” I started and he paused, looking unsure about whether he should trust the apology.  Good instincts. “But maybe I have a problem being a phase for you.”

There were gasps.

“Dude, what?” he said quietly, just to me.

I kept talking. “You’re more comfortable dating girls and you know it.”

“But—”

“I’m not the only one looking elsewhere.” I pointed to Lydia, feeling a little bad about dragging her into this.

“Hey, that’s not fair,” Luke tried. “She doesn’t mean anything to me.”

Lydia had an untapped talent for dramatics. She jumped in at that. “How can you say that?” she gasped. “You told me you loved me!” She inserted herself between us for a second and slapped Luke across the face. She stared me down fiercely for a few seconds, then grinned saucily and stormed off while the crowd parted to let her through.

“You got so caught up in having a boyfriend, but you spent no time actually being in this relationship. I need more,” I said bravely, pretending that I was fighting back tears.

“Don’t do that. You’re not into me. That’s what this is really about,” Luke said weakly, trying to get the power back. It was the wrong thing to say.

“Shouldn’t I be saying that to you?”

Luke’s face went through a series of emotions too fast for me to interpret. Man, he really was a better actor than I thought, but my heart hammered in my chest too hard to pay attention. Tears welled up in my eyes, no longer fake.

“I think we need to break up,” he said quietly.

“I don’t think so.” His eyes widened. I thought I heard people gasp again. “I know it,” I said, head held high. “We’re over.”

People cleared the way to let me through. I think a couple people even applauded. I just kept my eyes ahead and concentrated on walking down the hall and out of Luke’s life.

Our relationship had been fake, but that breakup seemed real.

This is an excerpt from One Little Word, 

via Daily Prompt: Laughter

No Quick Fixes

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I wanted it to happen quickly. No one wants the devastation to last. With my heart ripped in two by you, I hoped to start over. To rise from the ashes of our messy breakup like a phoenix, confident and stable and ready to find someone new.

It doesn’t work like that. For me, there’s not you one day and someone else the next. There’s defeat, there’s heartache. Evenings spent crying into my pillow and wishing for what we had. Getting over you takes work. Time.

But it happens. Slowly. Day by day. No abrupt reversal of fortunes but something steady that happens in inches instead of miles.

That’s okay. Because now when I say I’m over you, I mean it.

via Daily Prompt: Abrupt

The Magicians Best Tricks

magic-3315128_960_720“Is the trick being lamer than humanly possible?” asked my little brother while we watched a magician pull a never-ending scarf from his wrist. My brother Eli was only 10 but even he had seen that one before.

“Stop it,” I muttered.

“I’m just saying, if that’s what he’s trying to pull off, I’m impressed.” Some of his friends laughed at him and the magician took a little bow. I found him online. He went to a different high school and was an amateur; everyone had to start somewhere.

He pulled a quarter from behind someone in the front row’s ear. I hid a laugh when the magician frowned after the kid took the quarter and wouldn’t give it back.

“You wanted a magician for your birthday,” I reminded him. I wasn’t sure why I’d been the one tasked with handling his party. Mom said something about being a good big brother. Dad said something about proving I was responsible if I wanted a car. I think they just didn’t want to do it themselves. Eli was a tough critic.

“I wanted the guy I saw on TV,” he complained.

“Sorry we couldn’t book Criss Angel,” I muttered sarcastically. My parents hadn’t given me much of party budget. My present to my little brother was trying to pretend like this was quality entertainment.

“Or someone like him.” He looked at the spectacle in front of him with open disgust. “Not this.”

It wasn’t the magician’s fault he was an only child. Or at least his siblings weren’t the right age otherwise he would know that this 10-year-old crowd was too old for the bendy magic wand gimmick. Still, the magician had a smile that never wavered when met with this tough crowd. He also had curly dark hair, rich brown skin, and vibrant eyes. I don’t know. I kind of like him.

Wow. Did he have an actual rabbit for a pet or did he buy a rabbit for his act? Okay, he was a little cliché. That wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. If he was cliché, maybe he’d get me flowers and candies.

The rabbit was smart. The girls at least perked up when the adorable white bunny appeared from the top hat. Eli wasn’t swayed. “It would be better if he pulled that rabbit out of his-“

“Hey now,” I interrupted.

“I need a volunteer for this next trick,” the magician said. “How about the birthday boy?”

“My brother volunteers as tribute,” Eli said quickly.

The magician looked at me and butterflies appeared in my stomach. See, he was good.

I moved to the front and was instructed to pick a card. “Tough crowd,” the guy whispered to me.

“You’re doing great,” I encouraged.

He smiled shyly. “Maybe you could help me practice later.”

Our hands brushed as he took my card and inserted it back into the deck. Electricity. The trick hasn’t stared yet, but I’m already astonished.

via Daily Prompt: Astonish

No News is Good News

“Oh, it’s my boyfriend,” I announced in a loud, wooden voice. Damn, I guess I didn’t have an acting career in my future. “Hello, boyfriend, I’m going to hold your hand.” My voice was still loud enough for everyone in our school’s courtyard to overhear, but no one even turned and looked our way.

“I’m just a title now, I don’t have a name?” He gave me a quick kiss on the lips in greeting. No one reacted.

I laughed like he said the most hilarious thing. “Oh stop! Let’s just make out right here.”

He held up a hand when I tried to bring my face closer to his. “You’re being ridiculous.” His tone was serious but he had a tiny smile on his face. I recognized it as the look he gave me when I was being amusing but he didn’t want to encourage me.

“No, I’m not. It’s just, WE’RE TWO GUYS, who are about to MAKE OUT in this crowded courtyard. I HOPE NO ONE FEELS UNCOMFORTABLE.”

A guy I’d never seen before walked near us at that moment. I probably didn’t know him because he wore a football jersey and I had filed a restraining order against sports. Sports wasn’t allowed to be within 30 feet of me at all times. Maybe I’d judged sports too harshly, though. because here came this football player who would get all up in our business. Excellent. I mean, terrible.

“Love is love, guys,” he said with a smile and a wave.

I wasn’t pouting. I stood there with crossed arms while my boyfriend grinned at me, definitely not pouting.

“This is a good thing.”

“I know that,” I muttered.

When I came out a month ago, the news was met with overwhelming enthusiasm. There was a slew of supportive Facebook comments, people congratulated in the halls, I was embraced with open arms. There weren’t even well meaning but kinda rude comments of “I know” or “Duh.”

“We’re lucky enough to live in a place where—” my boyfriend started saying.

“Yeah, I really am glad.” It was true. There were people that didn’t have it as easy. I got to kiss my boyfriend in broad daylight and just be treated as normal because I was normal; this was my normal.

Still. “I just thought there might be a little excitement.”

He rolled his eyes fondly. “We’re here, we’re queer, they’re used to it.”

I wasn’t trying to be ungrateful. I guess I just didn’t believe it could be this easy. I’d heard stories, watched movies, and had seen the perils of coming out even if I didn’t experience them. I’d spent a while gaining the courage and strength to be ready to come out. I knew life wouldn’t always be fair. I guess I just wanted to go through the hard part. Get it over with.

“I didn’t want any violence or harassment or anything, but not even one dirty look, really?” It was just another day. Nothing notable happening.

“I could give you a dirty look,” he offered with a suggestive wink.

It was a beautiful day and I was standing in the sunlight with a lovely boy. Maybe there was no point looking for a downside or worrying something might go wrong. Maybe I should just enjoy this.

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Daily Prompt- Notable

Daily Prompt: Defending the Scoundrel

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The soiree took place in a lavish mansion. Everything was polished and over the top, the people so put together and pretty and fake. Cal had been expected to make an appearance. It had been the worst part of his day, but it came with a bright side: maybe his parents would never ask him to make an appearance at a society function again since they got into a hushed argument in the coat closet.

It had felt so significant at the time when he emerged from the closet. It had been symbolic to tell his family that he wouldn’t attend another event if his boyfriend couldn’t be there too while literally emerging from a closet.

As he relayed the story to Max now, it just sounded silly.

“Come on, tell me again,” his boyfriend encouraged. Cal groaned and buried his head in Max’s shoulder. They were in Max’s family’s tiny apartment, but Cal felt like he had more space and room to breathe here than he did at the party or among his parents with all their expectations and obligations. Metaphorically, if not physically.  Plus, in a physical sense, why did he need space? There was no need to stretch out when he preferred to spend his time as close to Max as possible.

Even if he was being annoying. “You’ve already heard it,” Cal grumbled into the fabric of his dark shirt. He’d been working earlier, Cal could detect motor oil and a hint of sweat, but Max smelled good, like home. He certainly looked comfortable lounging on the couch while Cal felt overly formal in his nice shirt and crisp pants, tie fastened tightly around his neck.

“Well, I wanna hear it again.” Max ran a hand down Cal’s back.

Cal moved his head to stare at Max dubiously. It wasn’t pouting, hopefully, as he said, “You’re making fun of me.

“No, I wanna know all about how my big and tough boyfriend defended my honor.” His voice was warm and affectionate. It was hard to argue with that voice.

Still. Cal was big and tough. Max needed to know. Yes, his dark-haired boyfriend was stronger and more muscled, but Cal had assets too. “I am tough. I know karate.”

Max laughed. “No, you don’t.”

“Well, I took a class in second grade. I’m a yellow belt. Does that count for anything?”

“Probably not.”

Cal glared at Max for a moment before pecking him on the lips and shrugging off the previous events of the evening. “I don’t want to think about that unpleasantness anyway.”

“It’s not unpleasant. It’s sweet. You sticking up for me.”

Cal studied him, but Max seemed to be serious, his tone sounding gentle while his fingers traced idle patterns on Cal’s chest.

Max was poor. Cal was rich. Cal didn’t care, but his parents did. A lot. They also didn’t understand bisexuality. It didn’t matter if they didn’t get it. Cal got it and he couldn’t just let them say whatever they wanted about the person he… cared about very much.

“You’re my boyfriend. I couldn’t just let them say whatever they wanted.”

“You could have actually, but you didn’t. Its sweet.” Max kissed him softly for a few moments and Cal didn’t protest or make sure the brunette understood that he was worth standing up for. There would be time for that later. Cal didn’t plan on going anywhere anytime soon.

They lounged together on the couch. Cal wanted to put the matter behind them, but. “You know the weird part? I almost wanted to give them pointers.”

“On how to insult me better? Okay, now I hate you.” He playfully shoved Cal away, but the blonde held on tight.

“No, just, Max, this is the 21rst century. My parents are from this time period. I don’t get why their insults are so dated. They called you a cad, a rouge.”

“A rouge? I kind of like the sound of that.”

“A cur. A scoundrel.”

“Now, that one hurts,” Max joked. “I’m not a scoundrel.”

“Actually, I think that one fits rather well.” Cal laughed at Max’s offended look then grinned. “But you’re my scoundrel.”

I used characters from an existing story to write this prompt. These characters are from What Love Means.

via Daily Prompt: Cur

 

Daily Prompt — A Matter of Perspective

kiss-2931833_960_720.pngAn hour ago, I was livid. Now, I’m content. There’s just you and me. I existed only in the space between your arms.

I had been angry because – why?

A bad grade on a test?

Your mouth ghosts across my brow, delivers a kiss to each temple.

Something my parents said?

Your lips trail down the side of my face and your tongue licks across my jaw.

A parking ticket? You deliver a silly peck to my nose.

Whatever it was doesn’t matter now.

It’s amazing how easy new love can turn a bad day into a good one. You bestow kisses onto me again and again.

I’m happy.
via Bestow — The Daily Post

Daily Prompt: Going Beyond Vague

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How did Tyler know if someone liked him? When Justin with the dark skin and wavy brown hair waved at Tyler in the halls, butterflies formed in his stomach and a giddy feeling followed him around all day. That only explained how Tyler felt about the other boy; it didn’t show what Justin thought of him.

Friendly greetings led to careful conversation that gradually turned more genuine as the butterflies inside Tyler grew and got tired of living in their cramped confines, beating their wings so ferociously they threatened to tear out of his body and soar into the air above him.

Looks in the hallways, a flirty word here or there. It could all mean something. It could also be completely innocent. The rules of dating were vague. Yet he wasn’t quite desperate enough to turn to Cosmo or Teen Vogue for tips on how to know if your guy was into you.

What was it his mother said? ‘If I want something done right, I have to do it myself.’ No, he wasn’t going to ask his mom to find out if a boy liked him; that would be worse than turning to a lady’s fashion magazine for advice.

The time for coy words and fond gazes was over. He had to find out for himself. If Justin wasn’t going to ask him out, he’d ask Justin instead.

Infatuation and crushes don’t last forever. Heartbreak doesn’t last forever. To build something solid, you have to put in the work and lay the foundation. To start something great, first you had to start.

via Daily Prompt: Vague

Something Real. M/M short story

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photo from pinterest

“Oh god, is that really necessary?” Three sets of eyes swiveled to Stephen, who was looking around the table with disdain. “Do you need to post pictures of your lunch?” he continued. “No one cares.” I set my phone down, guilty, while the other two carried on without shame.

“But… it’s pretty. It’s sushi!” defended Abby with a pout from across the table.

His withering look was one of my top five favorite looks, which he delivered now while saying, “All of your acolytes have seen sushi before.”

“Is this an acolyte?” Milo said to Abby, pointing at an item on his plate. “I thought it was a California roll.”

Stephen stared at him in horror from across the table. It gave me a chance to speak up, so I did. “Come on,” I shoved him playfully with an elbow and he turned to me and resumed a haughty look. With his blue argyle sweater and wide, dark brown glasses, he was the most adorably offended nerd ever. “Even you know they’re called followers and not acolytes.”

He only scoffed at my remark and I tried to look as bored with him as everyone else instead of pleased. I had a perfect view of the spark in his amber eyes that always appeared when he really got going before he turned to address everyone.

“It’s superficial. Social media is all so fake.” He reflexively moved a hand to sweep his chestnut locks out of his face even though his perfectly coiffed hair was still in place and neat as ever.

“No,” Milo defended, “All my followers are real. I’m not using bots or something. That’s cheating.”

“I’m sure they exist,” Stephen said dryly. “If you can call being attached to a screen 24/7 existing.” He merrily started in on a rant about technology and the superficial nature of consumerism or something.

Abby looked annoyed at Stephen starting another patronizing speech and looked to me for support. I shrugged. Yeah, the words weren’t great, but he looked so good when lecturing about something. I used to be annoyed by it until I got the feelings. It was a pretty good strategy, I thought, having a crush on your most pompous friend made everything he said more bearable.

“Taking picture after picture of the best moments of your life and adding a fun filter is so trivial,” Stephen continued.

“…Sometimes I add a caption too,” Milo muttered, which apparently wasn’t worthy of a response as Stephen turned to me again.

“I can’t believe you’re participating in this too, Will.”

“We’re out of school today and we’re having a nice lunch,” I argued. “That’s something to celebrate.”

That answer didn’t sway him. I pretended to listen to his rant while watching the way his face flushed as he continued to talk and talk.

“No one is authentic anymore. Nothing is real.” Those words filtered through my admiration of his features and his passion. He said he wanted real, but my real big crush on him might be enough to shock him into silence for a full minute. Maybe two if he was especially horrified.

“And that’s what you want?” I asked.

“Desperately,” Stephen said with feeling while looking me in the eyes. He didn’t know what he was asking for. But maybe he was right. Maybe I was tired of pretending. I thought I knew how he’d react if I told him, but all the disaster scenarios I imagined weren’t real. There was only one way to find out for sure.

“Okay, if that’s what you want.” I leaned over and kissed him on the mouth.

How’s that for authentic?

via Daily Prompt: Authentic