Join us as Michael Kudo goes Outside the Margins.
I thought since we’re so close to Christmas it would be fun to share with you guys a moment in history between Alex and Lance (Red Rose Blood) as their first date coincided with the holiday season.
I hope you enjoy. =)
I got out of my car and I could feel the heart pounding in my chest. I even noticed my hands were shaking slightly. It was just a date at Applebee’s – no big deal right? Well, it was a date with one of the sexiest and sweetest guys I had ever laid eyes on and from the moment we met I had thought of nothing more than wanting to date and be around as much as humanly, rationally possible. Okay, so I was lying to myself – it was a big deal. Lance was a big deal.
I considered myself lucky he had even agreed to a date in the first place because he was my coworker and he had told me many, many times about his strict “no mixing business with pleasure” policy. I wasn’t so easily discouraged. I kept asking him out and giving him the full weight of my puppy-dog eyes and eventually he caved. Oh, and there may or may not have been a bit of rough sex in there somewhere. Don’t judge me.
Lance’s main issue, according to him, was that in our line of work it was simply too dangerous for us (two gay men) to be together. See, we were assassins-for-hire and our other coworkers would look at us as lesser or weaker because of our sexuality and try and kill us for it. Petty, right? Personally, I didn’t think Lance had anything to worry about. He was probably best guy in our organization. I’d pay to see somebody come after him with the intent of taking his life. It wouldn’t be very pretty. I, on the other hand, was good, but not the best, but I was still willing to take the risk for him – to be with him.
I was still shaking as I reached the door of the restaurant and had to tell myself to calm down because if I showed up acting all jittery there was no way he was going to stick around…with his level of apprehension if I showed any sign of nerves, well, I knew he’d probably be out the door faster than a redneck running to a liquor store on a buy-one, get-one free case of beer day.
“Hello, welcome to Applebee’s,” the woman at the front counter chimed. She looked at me and then around to see if there was anyone else with me. “Table for one?”
I smiled politely and shook my head. “No, table for two. But I believe the other half of my party may already be here.” I craned my neck and looked around the restaurant and sure enough, I found him. “I see him right there. I’ll just head over.”
The woman nodded. “Alright then.”
I went through the aisle and past the seemingly endless tables – trying my best to ignore the drunken grown men singing Christmas carols off-key and the children screaming and drawing on the tables (seriously, were their parents blind?) and finally made it to where Lance was sitting.
Lance looked up. “Hey,” he said, his voice completely neutral.
“Hey,” I replied. “I hope I didn’t keep you waiting too long.”
He shook his head. “Only five minutes. I was fine.”
“Good, that’s good. Have you ordered yet?”
“Not food, but I did get us drinks.”
I raised an eyebrow. “That’s pretty ballsy, isn’t it? It’s our first date and you’re already trying to order my drink for me? What if you got it wrong?”
“Whisky sour, on the rocks, maraschino cherry with a dash of sprite.”
I blinked and my mouth went agape. “Wow, I’m impressed. How did you know?”
He shrugged. “I remember things about people…especially those who are important to me. I make an effort to keep them in mind.”
I smiled and shook my head. It made me happy to hear him say that because it was proof that I wasn’t crazy. Lance did care about me in the same way I cared about him. I sat down in the seat across from him and picked up my menu. I was still browsing through it when the waitress came with our drinks and set them down in front of us.
“Are you two ready to order?” she asked.
I glanced away from the menu and at Lance. “I think I’m ready, what about you?”
“I could order,” he replied. “I’ll have the cheeseburger with fries. Nothing else on it.”
The waitress repeated his order back and nodded. “Got it,” she turned to me, “what about you?”
“I’ll have the same, only make mine medium-rare, please.”
“You got it, coming right up.” She gathered our menus and left.
I lifted my glass and took a sip of the drink. I felt the weight of silence grow heavier with each passing second and it made me a bit antsy. I put the drink down and looked up at Lance and saw he was staring at me, too. “What?” I asked.
Lance shook his head. “Forget it.”
“No, I will not. Why were you looking at me?”
“It’s just…you look really good tonight, Alex.”
I felt myself blush and I looked down and became suddenly interested in my drink. “Well, thank you…you look good, too. Hell, you always look good, Lance.”
“Yes, damn it. You already know how I feel about you. Are you trying to embarrass me by making me repeat it again and in public, no less?” I risked a glance at his face and saw that he was smiling mischievously – the bastard was actually getting a kick at making me squirm. “You’re such a jerk.”
“Yeah, but right now, I’m your jerk.”
“I can’t argue with you there,” I replied, shaking my head. “Although I wish you’d permanently be my jerk because I like it when you’re around.”
Lance smiled and it was sad. “I know, and believe me, I want that as well. But you know how it is. It isn’t safe for us to be together, not with the business we’re in or the people–”
I held up my hand. “Enough, please. Let’s change the subject. I want this date to be free from all the bullshit. No thought, no rhyme, no reason. I just want it to be you and me together and happy. Is that too much to ask?”
Lance’s expression softened. “No, it isn’t.”
Lance took a sip of his drink and was quiet for a few moments and then suddenly he cleared his throat. “Hey, Alex?”
“What?” I asked.
“Did you happen to notice what’s hanging over the table?”
I frowned and shook my head. He looked up and I followed his line of sight and my gaze landed on a strange cluster of green with little white bulbs. “I’m not sure, a plant, maybe?”
Lance shook his head and chuckled. “A plant, huh? Cute. It’s mistletoe.”
“And you know what that means, right?”
I did but I didn’t want to say or do anything to kill the mood. “What?”
“It means I get to do this,” Lance replied, and he leaned across the table, grabbed me by the front of my shirt, and pulled us together so our lips met and we were kissing and basking in each other’s warmth and affection. And it felt amazing. I couldn’t believe it was happening. It seemed as though finally I wouldn’t be spending a holiday alone. And if he was real, somewhere, there’d be a fat man in red and white cheering for me.
~ Michael Kudo
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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