Flash Fic Friday

Flash Fic Friday

**Challenge director  took it easy on me this week, with just Halloween, a princess, and a niece.  This one is especially for him.  And hey…Happy Halloween!  Have fun and be safe!**


“Uncle Scott!  Where are my wings?”

Scott pinched the bridge of his nose and refrained from sighing out loud.  Looking after his niece while his sister recovered from surgery wasn’t that big of a deal.  Sadie was a precocious, and sometimes petulant, seven year old, but she was a sweetheart.  Scott and Sadie got on like a house on fire, and normally, Scott would be having a great time.  But Maya just had to go and have back surgery this week of all weeks.  Scott shook his head, and took a deep breath.

“I don’t know, Sadie bug.  Where did you leave them?” he called back.

“I had them when we visited Mommy earlier,” she said, her voice coming closer.  Maya had come through surgery just fine the day before, and she’d been up to visitors today.  Scott had kept Sadie out of school so that they could visit.  And since it was Halloween, Scott had acquiesced when Sadie insisted on wearing her costume to the hospital.  Scott didn’t understand the appeal of the holiday, and he certainly didn’t get dressing up.  But for Sadie, he would pretend to enjoy it.

A moment later, she came into view.  Her dress was pink and shimmery, and she was wearing a fake gold tiara on her head.  She even had her wand in her hand.  Her big brown eyes were shiny and wet.  “How can I be a fairy princess if I don’t have wings?!”

Sensing a tantrum coming on, Scott dropped to his knees.  “Did you check your room?”

Sadie’s glare turned a little mutinous.  “I didn’t have them…” She trailed off, her eyes going wide and her mouth forming an O.  She spun on her heel and raced to her bedroom, her Mary Jane’s clacking on the hardwood floor.

Scott remained kneeling, and wasn’t the least bit surprised when, a moment later, Sadie shouted out.  “Got ‘em!”

She raced back into the kitchen, and Scott helped her into her wings.  It took a surprising amount of adjusting to get the purple and pink shimmery wings to a place where they didn’t smack into the back of her curly brown head.  Finally, she was all set.  With a triumphant grin, she grabbed her bucket that was shaped like a pumpkin.

“Let’s go!”

Scott gave a cheer filled with fake enthusiasm and followed his niece out of the house.  He hadn’t been trick or treating since he himself had been a teenager.  He could only hope that Sadie would tire of it after a few blocks, and he could carry her home and put her to bed.  And then maybe steal a few pieces of the choicest candy himself.

Sadie, of course, had other ideas.

An hour later, they were still walking the neighborhood.  Sadie preened every time an adult told her just how beautiful a fairy princess she made.  Her bucket was nearly full.  And Scott was tired.  He vowed to himself that they would finish up this block and then he was taking her home, no matter how hard she protested.

As Sadie approached a small yellow house with festive cobwebs adorning the porch, Scott stopped at the bottom of the steps, but in clear view of the door.  Sadie rang the bell, and pasted on a huge, slightly maniacal grin.  A moment later, the door swung open and Scott’s breath caught.

The man was about his age, fit and toned, and he was wearing a bright grin and a long sleeved yellowish shirt with some sort of gold symbol over his left breast.  His dark hair was cut short and a little spiky.  He was one of the best looking men that Scott had seen in a long time.  But his beautiful grin was huge as he shouted out, “Happy Halloween!”

Sadie gasped, her eyes going wide.  “Mr. Wright?!  What are you doing here?”

“Hello Sadie the fairy princess!  Don’t you look lovely?  I’m here because this is my house,” the man said with a gentle smile.  “We missed you at school today.  I hope your Mommy is feeling better.”

Sadie nodded fast, but then whipped around to face Scott, nearly clobbering Mr. Wright with one of her wings.  “Uncle Scott!  This is my teacher, Mr. Wright!  This is his house!”

Scott chuckled at her over the top enthusiasm, and climbed the porch steps.  He held out his hand when he got closer.  “Scott Winchell.  It’s nice to finally meet you.  Sadie talks about you all the time.”

“John,” he offered his name as he shook Scott’s hand and blushed prettily.  “So you’re the famous Uncle Scott.”

Scott chuckled.  “It seems so.”  He cocked his head to the side, then grinned.  “For some reason, I pictured you blond.”

John laughed.  “Weirdly, I get that a lot.”

“Uncle Scott,” Sadie said urgently, tugging on his pants leg to get his attention.  Her stage whisper was loud as she said, “Mr. Wright thinks it’s okay for boys to kiss boys too.”

“Too?” John queried with a quirk of his eyebrow.

Scott just nodded, and made a deliberate show of letting his gaze travel the length of John’s body.  The man blushed harder, shifted his stance, and then cleared his throat.  Scott’s grin, he was sure, was just a little bit wicked.  Their gazes locked, and there was no mistaking the interest in the other man’s eyes.

There was a screech and a squeal, followed by the sound of running feet.  The noises of the children out on the street broke the spell they’d been under.  Scott mentally chastised himself for eye-fucking his niece’s teacher.

John cleared his throat again.  “So…you’ll be bringing Sadie to school on Monday?”

Scott knew he didn’t misinterpret the suggestive tone in the teacher’s voice.  His grin grew.  “Definitely.”

John dropped some candy into Sadie’s bucket, and Scott didn’t even have to remind her to say thank you.  Transaction complete, she turned and headed off the porch.  Scott was quick to follow, but he couldn’t resist looking over his shoulder one more time.  John still stood at the door, and Scott could tell that the man had been staring at his ass.  Scott grinned even harder.

Maybe Halloween wasn’t so bad after all.


Don’t Forget: Flash Fic Holiday Blog Hop!

Hey y’all!ffhbh_badge4-200

Don’t forget we have this lovely and fun thing going on.  Sign up and be a part of the Flash Fic Holiday Blog Hop!  You don’t have be an author to participate, just a lover of stories, and have one to tell yourself.  You don’t even have to have your story already written.  You’ve got plenty of time.

Sign up runs through tomorrow, October 31st, at midnight.  Then you have a good solid month to write your story, tweak and make it look awesome, before you post it sometime during the first week of December.  It can be posted to your blog, tumblr, your story section on Goodreads, or you can get hosted by me, Thorny, or LC if you have none of the above.

It’s going to be fun and awesome, and you know you want to join in.  Just click the link at the bottom of this post and you’ll be taken right to where you can add your name to the list!

Feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns! (kristbethke at gmail dot com or use the contact form at the top)



Shaking My Confidence Daily

Yeah.  I’m one of those people.  The kind where confidence comes from others, not within myself.  I’m working on it, I am.  But right now it’s validation that lifts me up, and keeps me solid.

Recently, a couple things happened to shake my confidence to the core.  And for a minute there, I was ready to just give up.  But it only lasted a minute, and though everything is still shaky, it’s a little more solid.  You know, like Jell-O.  It’s wobbly but it’s holding it’s shape.

I’ve been repeating my mantra.  I’ve been talking to my close people about my feelings, and thoughts, and new plot ideas.  And even though focus seems to be an issue right now, I have been writing anyway.  The flash fics, as well as some other things.  My slave driver dear sweet friend has been pushing me to put words on the page, no matter what they are, as long as I write.  He’s also telling me to fucking focus, but he’s kind enough to not say it often, because he knows I know.

The good thing is that I am, slowly and surely, getting to the point where I can view this as a life lesson.  Where I can look at it and see it’s something that makes me stronger and more determined.  It’s a good thing, in the long run, though I still don’t feel quite that way yet.

For the moment, I’m just proud of myself that even though everything is shaky, I’m still doing what I love.

And speaking of…

Don’t forget the Flash Fic Holiday Blog Hop!

Flash Fic Friday

Flash Fic Friday

**Challenge number 4.  I saw this the instant the challenge was issued, though it’s a bit darker than I usually write.  But I have to say, damn, I’m loving this game.**

With each mile that slipped under the tires of the Greyhound bus, the knot of dread tightened in Austin’s stomach.  He stared out the window, watching the scenery rush by.  Each flash of tree was another step closer.  Austin swallowed hard.  He tried not to think about it, but it was impossible.

The bus began to slow and within a few minutes, pulled into a rest stop on the thruway.  Two hours from his destination, the last stop before he would disembark at home, and Austin was nearly in tears.  As the bus came to a stop, he stood, and without a word, picked up his back pack and got off the bus.  He kept his head held high and walked with as much confidence into the bathroom as he could muster.  He didn’t acknowledge the looks or the comments.  He headed straight for the handicap stall, locked the door behind him, and set the bag on the ground.  With a deep breath, he bent down to dig inside.

The tears threatened as he pulled out the cargo shorts and t-shirt.  His hands shook as he reached for his zipper.  The sound was loud as it opened down his back.  He swallowed hard, forcing back the tears, as he slowly pulled off his dress.  It was his favorite sundress, with spaghetti straps, a full skirt, and a sweet pattern of tiny roses all over.  Carefully he folded it, and pushed it into the bottom of his bag.  After that he was quick to pull off his strappy sandals, and put on his shorts and shirt.

It was unfair.  He was male, and he liked being male.  But he liked wearing dresses too, and he hated that society said it was wrong.  He hated even more that his parents didn’t have a problem with the fact that he was gay, but couldn’t understand that sometimes, he preferred more feminine clothes.  He couldn’t wear his dresses at home, and he knew that he shouldn’t have even worn it this far.  But he couldn’t face them without the strength it provided.  He had to feel like himself until the last possible second in order to get through the next week at home.

Darren was waiting for him when Austin emerged from the bathroom.  Without any pretenses or worry, Darren took Austin’s hand in his.  He squeezed tightly and looked Austin straight in the eye.

“You didn’t have to do that,” Darren rumbled quietly.

Dear, sweet, wonderful Darren.  How Austin had lucked out and found a man who understood that he sometimes needed to wear dresses, he’d never know.  But from the moment Darren had found out, the man had been completely supportive.  Austin gave him a watery smile.

“Yes, I did.”

Darren shook his head.  His intense gaze bored into Austin.  “If you wanted to walk into your parents’ house in that pretty dress, you know I would have been right there with you.  I would have held you up.”

Austin nodded fast, even as his eyes filled again.  He blew out a shaky breath.  “I know.  But I can’t do that to them.  And I can’t—” A little sob escaped.  Austin worked to get himself back under control.  “It’s too much for them to handle.  They’d never speak to me again.”

Darren grabbed him, pulling Austin into a tight embrace.  The bag fell from Austin’s hand as he clung back.

“I love you, just as you are,” Darren whispered fervently in his ear.  “We could face that together.”

Austin drew strength from his man.  After several deep breaths, he pulled back and looked Darren straight in the eye.  “Maybe next time.”

Darren considered him for a long moment before he nodded. “Whenever you’re ready.”

Another long moment of silence between them, then Austin bent and picked up his bag.  He took a deep, steadying breath, clutched Darren’s hand tightly in his own, and headed back out to board the Greyhound.

Next time for sure.


Flash Fic Holiday Blog Hop

I’m one of the three masterminds behind the Flash Fic Holiday Blog Hop!

Created by the wonderful LC Chase
Created by the wonderful LC Chase

Thorny Sterling and I had such an amazing time with our photo inspired short stories, and were so intrigued by the differences we came up with between just the two of us, that we wanted to see what a whole bunch of writers might come up with using the same photo.  And then we thought: what better time to offer free stories then at the holidays?

We absolutely had to pull LC Chase in to help us get this done–she has awesome ideas and is a photo-inspired writer too–so here’s what the three of us came up with.

All stories must be inspired by this photo:

At the Shop



All stories must include in the text:
  * A winter holiday theme,
  * A “bad boy” character, and
  * A gift of some kind (author’s choice)


Try to limit your writing to no more than 3000 words, but 500 to 1000 is preferred. This is flash fiction, which is defined by being brief. Think of it like a specific moment in the characters’ lives, instead of their whole story.


We’re asking that your story fit under the umbrella of LGBT Romance, so if you want to write about any two characters on the gender and/or sexuality spectrums, go for it. Anything goes as far as genre too, so scifi, mystery, paranormal, contemporary, etc. are fine, just make sure it’s a romance first and foremost.


Do you have an idea to use characters you’ve already written about? Well, OK, but make sure we know who you’re talking about by giving us a summary of their original story that this flash fiction is spinning off of as an introduction. (And buy links because, you know, tis the season for the one-click clickety.)


Sign-up Begins: TODAY, October 21
Sign-up Ends: October 31


You don’t have to be a published author to participate. But we do ask that you make an effort to be professional by having others read and critique your work before you post it. Remember, it’ll be internet-permanent in an instant and you wanna look awesome!


Use the InLinkz system below to sign-up and make sure to complete all the required information. (It doesn’t matter who’s blog you sign-up from because everything’s connected in InLinkz.)

Post stories to your own blog starting December 1 and no later than December 7.


If a participant doesn’t have your own blog, you can use the “Writings” section of your Goodreads profile. If you don’t have a blog or a Goodreads account, you can contact me to get on the “Host Me” list and either Thorny, LC, or I will host your story for you on our own blogs (limited availability!).


Questions? Problems? Contact me (kristbethke at gmail dot com or use the contact form at the top).


I’m so excited, and I hope you are too!  Let’s do this thing, and have a blast while we’re at it!
Flash Fic Friday

Flash Fic Friday

**NSFW.  Just sos you know. 🙂  Another challenge completed**

Sam was so engrossed in the novel he was reading that he didn’t even notice when the sky had darkened.  It wasn’t until he heard that first splatter of rain that he looked up.  Through the open curtains, he saw the swirling storm clouds.  A distant flash, followed by a loud clap of thunder, had him on his feet.  The sky opened up and the rain began to pour down.  Sam tossed his book aside.  He knew just where he would find his erstwhile lover.  He ran toward the door, ready to track Jude down, and promptly fell to the floor.  Eyes wide, Sam’s gaze traveled down his leg.  He saw the length of rope that tethered his ankle.

The little fucker had tied him to the couch!

Seething, Sam rolled forward until he could get his fingers on the knot.  It took some work—Jude had been a Boy Scout after all—but Sam finally managed to work himself free.  Anger roiling in his gut, Sam bounced to his feet, racing outside.

Jude was swimming.  In the middle of a rainstorm.  His face was serene every time it broke the surface of the water.  His body was beautiful, cutting a powerful swath, and any other time, Sam could have stood there and watched Jude swim for hours.  But not today, with the storm soaking his clothes and the thunder and lightning threatening the love of his life.

Sam stalked around to the edge of the pool, and when Jude was close enough, Sam grabbed his arm. Jude spluttered and went under, but between the two of them, they got Jude up and out of the water.  Sam was scowling, and Jude was blinking in the perfect picture of innocence.

“Huh,” Jude shouted over the raging sound of the storm.  “You got out faster than I thought you would.”

“Inside,” Sam growled.  He pointed toward the house. “Now.”

Jude was shivering by the time he made it into the mudroom, pool water and rain dripping into a puddle at his feet.  Sam was soaked too, but he had a bigger body mass and it would take him a while to feel the cold.  He grabbed a towel from on top of the dyer, and started vigorously rubbing at Jude’s skin.

“I’m sorry I tied you to the couch,” Jude whispered after long minutes filled with angry silence.

“It’s dangerous, Jude.  Swimming in that.  You know that.  You know I hate it when you do it. I’m not as pissed that you tied me up, as I am that you went swimming in the first place.”  Sam’s words were clipped and heated.

Jude knew how Sam felt about this, and he’d tried to get around it.  And while Sam could forgive the rope, what he couldn’t forgive that Jude was so reckless with his own life. Sam knelt in the growing puddle to strip Jude’s Speedo down his legs.  Instantly, he was met with Jude’s half erect dick.  Sam scowled up at his boyfriend, and Jude had the decency to look sheepish. Jude gave a little shrug.

“You’re touching me, what do you expect?”

Sam grumbled under his breath as he kept drying Jude’s skin.  With each rough swipe of the towel, Jude got harder.  When Sam leaned closer to get Jude’s calves, the man had the audacity to wave his penis in Sam’s face.

“I am not rewarding your bad behavior with a blow job,” Sam ground out.

Sam expected a pout.  He expected Jude to stick out his bottom lip and give him puppy dog eyes and lame excuse about how he was so hard he hurt, and it was all Sam’s fault so Sam should be the one to fix it.  What he didn’t expect was for Jude’s eyes to go soft, and for him to reach down and start tugging at Sam’s skin-clinging t-shirt.

“Let’s get you out of these clothes before you get chilled,” Jude said quietly.

Sam went still and let Jude peel off his shirt.  He stood when Jude urged him up, and then was docile as Jude fought with the wet denim.  He shivered a little, the cold finally getting to him, as Jude knelt to pull off his briefs as well. Jude lunged forward, and Sam’s cock was engulfed in the warm recesses of Jude’s mouth.  He groaned, his hands automatically diving into Jude’s wet hair.

Oh Christ, that felt good.  He loved it when Jude used the sneak attack approach.  There was something deliciously decadent about Jude taking his soft cock into his mouth and sucking him to full hardness. The muscles in Sam’s legs started to shiver and shake, and he shuffled back two steps so he could lean his ass on the dryer.  The cold metal was a shock, and he hissed, the sensation such a contrast to Jude’s hot mouth that Sam was instantly fully erect.  Jude made pleased noises, and started humming.   Whatever song he was singing made his tongue do interesting things, and almost without warning, Sam was on the verge of coming.

He sucked in deep breaths through his nose, desperate to stave off his orgasm.  He didn’t want it to be over too fast. Then one of Jude’s chilly hands snaked up Sam’s thigh and cupped Sam’s balls.  The difference was too much.  Sam grunted, stiffened, and shouted Jude’s name as he emptied himself into that warm, willing mouth.  Sam squeezed his eyes shut, panting heavily as he tried to get his breathing back under control.  Eventually, he opened his eyes and looked down.  Jude was still on his knees, his entire body shivering with the cold, but he was still hard enough to pound nails, and his grin was supremely satisfied. Sam grunted, and reached down to use his thumb to wipe a bit of cum from the corner of Jude’s mouth.

“You need to stop swimming in thunderstorms.  My heart can’t take it.”

“I p-promise,” Jude said, shivering harder.

Sam hauled him up, then gave him a light swat on the ass to get him moving into the house.  A shower was in order for both of them, and then he’d wrap Jude up in bed and give him something better to do during a thunderstorm


The First Stand Alone

I’m giddy.  I am.  See, my first stand alone novella Pumpkin Rolls and Porn Sounds, is in production and, though I don’t have an exact release date yet, I know it’ll be released sometime in the January/February area.  I’m really excited and really nervous about it.  I desperately hope that you adore Will and Joshua as much as I do.

It’s been a while in the making.  I signed the contract back in May.  Production has only really just begun in the last month or so.  And the funny thing is, I’ve sort of forgotten a bit about them because I wrote it a good ten months ago, and I’ve been working on other things in the meantime.  But every once in a while, they sneak back into my head, and I can’t help but grin.

But it’s a lot more real to me now. Edits will be rolling in soon so I can shine these boys up and make them the best they can be.  And the cover art production is ready to begin.  This part is incredibly exciting and nerve wracking.  I love covers.  I’m drawn to them.  But having to put into words what my cover should feel like, and then turning it over to a wonderful artist to create…well, that’s not an easy thing.  I feel pressure to get the word right so that an artist can work their magic.

I basically waffle back and forth between pure elation that my book is going to be out there, and sheer terror that I’m not going to get it right.  But I’m working with some amazing people, and it’s going to be great when I get to the end.

And while that’s going on, I’m waiting to hear about another novella, and I’m working on something new.  All in all, despite the roller coaster of emotions, I’m pretty dang happy.  Because ever since I was little, this is what I wanted to do.  I wanted to write, I wanted it to be published, I wanted people to enjoy my stories.  And it’s happening.

A little over a year ago, I got my first acceptance.  My first short story was published December 1, 2013. And now, my first stand alone is being made to shine.  It really is a dream come true.

Flash Fic Friday

Flash Fic Friday

**Another challenge.  This is an immense amount of fun. Enjoy**


His heart had been in the right place.  With Jonah working long hours this week, and coming home every night too exhausted to do much more than to eat a sandwich and fall into bed, Amos thought he could do something nice for his husband.  Jonah’s favorite treat was vanilla ice cream smothered in butterscotch sauce, and while he’d settle for the store bought syrup in a bottle, Amos knew the real thing really got Jonah’s motor revving.  Which was a win-win for Amos.  Jonah would get a pick-me-up, feel good treat, and Amos would get gratitude sex.  And gratitude sex was high on the list of Amos’s favorite kinds of sex.

The recipe had seemed simply enough.  Butter, brown sugar, heavy cream, vanilla and salt.  Throw it all in a saucepan and cook until it was butterscotch-y goodness.  Amos was no great cook, but he thought even he could handle that.  He’d been wrong.

Very, very wrong.

Amos read the directions four times before he began.  He got out all the ingredients, measured very carefully, and then read the recipe again.  When he felt confident he had everything down pat, he took out Jonah’s best stainless steel sauce pan and set it on the stove.  With a deep breath, and another quick glance at the instructions, Amos began.  Joy and satisfaction started bubbling up, along with the butter and sugar in the pan.

One moment’s inattention had ruined it all.

He only looked away for a second.  He swore that’s all it was.  His cell phone chimed with a text alert from his best friend.  She’d sent a video of her kitten playing with a stuffed toy.  Amos smiled and laughed, watching the tiny black ball of fur attacking the lobster that was at least as big as she was.  And when he turned back to the stove, what had once been a simmering molten lava of sugar and butter was now a sticky, black mess.

Amos groaned, and silently berated himself.  He knew he had to pay attention to the sauce.  The instructions had made that very clear.  He quickly shut off the heat and moved the pan into the sink.  He’d have to clean it and start over.  He filled the pan with hot as he could stand water and a copious dollop of soap.  A great deal of the mess washed away, but there was a coating on the pan that would not scrub clean.  Amos added more soap and rubbed harder.

Dammit all to hell.  Amos had ruined Jonah’s best pan.

The front door opened and closed, and Amos bit back a moan as he closed his eyes and swallowed hard.

“Babe?” Jonah’s deep voice called out.

Amos started to panic.  “If you know what’s good for you, you won’t come in here!”  His voice was slightly hysterical.

Of course, that brought Jonah running.  He was at Amos’s side within seconds, worry all over his beautiful face.  “What happened?”

Amos shook his head.  “I was making you butterscotch.”

Jonah frowned for a moment.  Then understanding lit his eyes.  “You got distracted, huh?”

Amos nodded miserably.  “Your pan is ruined, and I’m sorry.  I was trying to do something nice.”

Jonah sighed, but he was clearly trying to keep his amusement in check.  He nudged Amos to the side, opened the door to the under sink cabinet, and retrieved something from a yellow box.  With a flourish, he handed over a Brillo pad.  “It’s not ruined.”

Amos took the steel wool, got it wet, and started working on the black spots.  With a little elbow grease, they came clean.  Amos blew out a relieved breath and attacked the pot with renewed vigor.

Jonah’s arms snaked around his waist and he snugged his front up to Amos’s back.  Jonah’s lips were at the perfect height to kiss the back of Amos’s neck.  For just a second, Amos allowed himself to be distracted by the soft, butterfly kisses on his skin.  Then he took a swipe at one of Jonah’s hands with the Brillo pad.  He had work to do.

Jonah laughed, a carefree sound Amos hadn’t heard in too long.  Amos turned his head, stole a proper kiss, then nudge Jonah with his hip.

“Go get changed.  I’m going to get it right this time, and you’ll have perfect butterscotch sauce to go on your ice cream.”

Jonah took a deliberate step back while loosening his tie.  “That’s not where I want to put my butterscotch.”

Amos’s brow crinkled.  “Then where?”

Jonah gave a suggestive eyebrow waggle.  Amos swallowed hard, turned back to the sink, and started scrubbing harder.  He had serious motivation now.


Weirdly wonderful

There’s this weird thing that’s been happening lately.

I have this friend (wonderful and amazing) who has been giving strange challenges for the flash fics. This past Friday was his challenge, and so are the next four Friday’s. It’s a hell of a lot of fun for me and I am enjoying it very much. And for the first time since I started this blog a year ago, I’m not scrambling on Thursday night trying to get a fic written, or worse, trying to even think of something to write. I’ve got them all written and ready to go for the entire month.

And the weird and wonderful thing is that it’s lifted a weight I didn’t even realize I was carrying. And suddenly, I’m able to focus on my WIP in a way I never have before.

It’s awesome. And I’m so pleased with how the writing is going right now that I can’t even put it into words. After the slump, I don’t feel the pressure and I’m enjoying myself again. And really, shouldn’t that be what it’s all about?

So I hope you’ll tune in Friday’s this month to see all the little fics that were born from challenges. And I’m hoping to have another first draft done by the end of the month as well.

Flash Fic Friday

Flash Fic Friday

**That Ivan, he loves to give me a challenge.  And here’s the results of his latest mission.**

Something was obstructing his vision, so Aaron walked right into the lamppost.  He stumbled, his feet not working quite right, and he reached out to steady himself.  The thing that had caused him to falter was also his savior, and Aaron hooked an arm around the post and leaned.

“Thank you,” he mumbled, words not quite intelligible.  He patted the metal.  “You’re a good friend.  I’ll call you George.”

With a heavy sigh and a squint, Aaron leaned more heavily and tried to figure out why he could only see out of one eye.  He reached up and batted at the fringe, confused when it just swung and didn’t disappear.

“Aaron.”  The voice was low and commanding.  Aaron tried to look around, but something was still in his way.  Suddenly his view was unobstructed.  Aaron’s face lit up.

“Gabe!”  Aaron struggled to right himself.  “Look George!  It’s Gabe!”

Gabe gave a chuckle.  “Who’s George?”

“My friend here.”  Aaron tried to pat the lamppost, missed, and would have smashed into it face first if Gabe hadn’t suddenly grabbed him and held him close. Aaron took a deep breath of Gabe scented air.  Fuck, he loved the way the man smelled.

“Why do you have a sombrero?” Aaron asked.

“I took it off your head,” Gabe answered.  A little crease appeared between his eyes and Aaron found it ridiculously adorable.  “Just how drunk are you, bro?”

Aaron shrugged.  “There was tequila.  The good stuff.  Your hat looks like Manny’s.  Did you get it at the same time Manny did?”

Gabe gave a little sigh. “I should have known Manny was involved.”  He slid the string of the sombrero over his arm, then reached out to steady Aaron until he was upright.  Aaron gave him an appreciative smile and most of his weight.  Gabe was smaller by a few inches, and Aaron slung his arm around the man’s shoulders.

“All right, champ,” Gabe said, his voice low.  “My car is a block over.  Let’s get you home.”

Aaron nodded, and immediately regretted it.  He groaned, and started walking.  At the last minute, he remembered to call out, “Bye George!”

Before Aaron knew what was happening, he was sitting in a car.  He looked around, a little dazed, and realized he knew this car.  He knew the dashboard, and the way it smelled.  It smelled like Gabe, and since that was his favorite scent ever, he knew it well.  He leaned his head back, closed his eyes, and inhaled deeply.  He felt a hand in his hair, and he turned toward it, nuzzling into the warm palm.

“You are the most affectionate drunk.”  Gabe’s voice was filled with amusement.

“I love you,” Aaron said fervently.

Gabe’s deep chuckle sounded loud in the confines of the car.  “Yeah, I know.”

“No,” Aaron said earnestly.  He forced his eyes open, then reached up to take Gabe’s palm between his own.  “I like, really love you.  A lot.  I think about you all the time.  I want to be more than your friend, Gabe.”

Gabe blinked, then blinked again.  Slowly he pulled his hand away, and with the same careful movements, he turned the key in the ignition.

“If you still remember this in the morning,” Gabe responded quietly, his voice barely audible over the purr of the engine, “then tell me again when you’re sober.”

Aaron nodded fast, then groaned and clutched his head.  It felt too big for his neck.  It shouldn’t feel that way.  He leaned back again.

“And tell me if you’re gonna get sick so I can pull over, for fuck’s sake.”


Aaron’s tongue felt like it was too big for his mouth.  He swallowed and grimaced. His mouth tasted like he’d been gnawing on garbage.  Slowly he sat up, his head pounding and threatening to roll off his shoulders.  His stomach roiled when he was upright, but he managed to quell the feeling.  When he was reasonably sure he wouldn’t fall over, Aaron stood and shuffled to the bathroom.

He emptied his bladder, then washed his hands.  Catching sight of himself in the mirror above the sink, Aaron blanched.  He looked like death warmed over.  Dark circle under his eyes, his skin sallow in the artificial light.

Tequila was evil.

Aaron found some aspirin in the medicine cabinet and downed three tablets.  He guzzled water straight from the tap, suddenly thirsty beyond belief.  When he was finished, he brushed his teeth and washed his face.  Done, he felt marginally more human.  Thank God it was Saturday.  He needed more sleep.  He flipped off the light and shambled back to bed.

The bed with someone sleeping on the opposite side.

Aaron sucked in a breath. How long had he fantasized about Gabe in his bed?  Years if he were honest.  He was curled up on his side, one hand tucked under his cheek. The man looked angelic in sleep.  Aaron wanted to slip back beneath the sheets and cover Gabe’s body with his own.

The instant Aaron’s ass touched the mattress, Gabe’s head jerked up.  He blinked blurry brown eyes at Aaron.  His voice was thick with sleep when he asked, “You all right, A?”

It was the blinking that jogged Aaron’s memory. He’d been pretty drunk last night, but that didn’t mean he didn’t remember.  He took a deep breath, stared into the eyes of his best friend, and told him the absolutely truth.  “I’m in love with you Gabe.  I should have told you before.  Tell me I didn’t just ruin our friendship.”

Gabe’s pink mouth curled into a soft smile.  “No, Aaron.  You didn’t ruin anything.”