Join Prism Book Alliance® as Freddy MacKay goes Outside the Margins today.
Welcome to the Prism Book Alliance Blog today! Freddy MacKay here, one of the contributors to Outside the Margins. For my part, I am writing 500 – 1000 word flash fiction pieces for a story called On the Divide. These are not professionally edited but I do try to catch my mistakes. I hope you enjoy.
On the Divide – Part 22 by Freddy MacKay
The whole sad story tumbled out, one idiotic scene after scene. Jo listened without any interruptions while Cooper shared his confusion and his anger. He hated how he sounded so fucking dumb talking about it all. All it did was serve to point out how much of a spas he still could be.
Jo didn’t say that, though. She patted his hand and held it. Her warm brown eyes never faltered or became disgusted.
Not that he thought she ever would. Jo didn’t have a mean bone in her body. He loved her for it.
“No, of course not,” she replied immediately. “You’ve been through a lot and he was a little too insistent. Don’t you dare think you were at fault.”
With a sigh Jo pushed back. “There’s nothing wrong with being a little gun shy. If he can’t understand that than fuck ‘im.”
Cooper chuckled. “I suppose.”
“Do you like him?” Jo was gathering up her materials.
Shit, it was already 6.00 PM. Cooper straightened out his study materials. He had forty-five minutes before he would have to take off to get to class.
“I asked if you liked him.”
That was the problem, wasn’t it? “A little, but another part of me is worried he’s just like Tabitha or even Evelyn.”
Jo tucked a loose strand out of the way, puffing at his bangs. “Why?”
“I have crappy judgement when it comes to my love life?”
She laughed, lines around her warm eyes forming. “That’s the truth, but maybe this time you didn’t pick wrong.”
Shrugging, Cooper opened up his philosophy notes. One more look over would help before the final.
“Go on some dates. Learn more about him.” Jo rubbed his shoulder and gave it a squeeze. “If you’re still unsure maybe it just means you’re not ready to date yet, and that’s okay too.”
The weight that had been drowning Cooper lifted with her words. Likely he needed to hear them since a part of him felt that way. He just wasn’t ready.
Or was he?
Jo leaned in for a hug. He returned it eagerly, holding her close, thankful she could say the one thing he needed to hear. Jo gave him a kiss on his forehead then took off, waving her goodbyes.
Cooper turned to his philosophy notes. The words made a whole lot more sense this time. Once again, Jo had been right about the nap.
Confidence about how the final would go grew as he went over his notes.
“So it went well?” Harlan asked.
“I think so. Better than I originally thought it would.”
Their conversation petered off again. It had done that on and off all night once they had cleaned up Cooper’s late night snack and moved to the futon. What possessed Cooper to call and invite Harlan over after his final had to be some kind of study fatigue. But Harlan didn’t even object and came right over.
When Harlan put an arm up on the back of the futon Cooper nearly lost it. Right behind him. Right fucking there. He tried to not let it distract him, but how could it not?
Two sides warred within Cooper. One half said let Harlan close and explore. The other said get him the fuck away. For the first time in a long time, though, the former half spoke more loudly.
That made Cooper more wary than anything.
He was excited. Too eager. Too enthusiastic. It scared the ever living fuck outta Cooper.
Breathe. Just breathe in and out. Like a normal human being.
A bark of laughter escaped Cooper, making Harlan jump and give him a startled look. All Cooper could do was wave off his worry. Shitballs. He was totally losing it.
Despite how wired Cooper felt, he knew it was all him. Harlan had been watching him with a conflicted expression of amusement and concern all night.
Every touch, every movement, everything Harlan had done was considered and thought out before he did it. Which meant the arm behind Cooper had been one of those ruminations.
In all their interaction that night, it truly felt Harlan followed Cooper’s lead—like sitting on the futon together.
That had been an invitation.
Cooper had been the one to sit closer to Harlan. Luckily when he sat down Harlan didn’t make any big deal out of it, just smiled at Cooper like nothing was out of the ordinary.
But everything was.
So many feelings beat inside Cooper. So many desires and thoughts whirled inside him like a wicked thunderstorm, about to crash down.
“Everything all right?”
“Yes,” Cooper answered, rubbing his palms against his pants.
“You sure, because—”
It was one word. Just one. But Cooper’s voice cracked when he said it. Harlan must’ve understood because he stopped talking. His dark blue gaze held Cooper’s.
One step. That’s all he needed to take. One.
The mini-golf, the Italian—both of those encounters were not just hanging out. They’d been dates. In his head Cooper had known, he just didn’t want to admit it.
He hadn’t been ready.
But was he really ready now?
Cooper adjusted, facing Harlan, who watched him with an unreadable expression. Why couldn’t Harlan be nervous too? Talk about being a selfish-bastard, though. Just because he couldn’t get his act together didn’t mean he should wish Harlan was as big as a mess.
Stupid. Stupid. I am so fucking stupid.
Someone normal would just go for it. Lean in and kiss Harlan like no big deal.
But it was.
Cooper lifted his right hand, placing it against Harlan’s cheek. He stroked the well-trimmed beard, wondering how it would feel against him. He let his eyes wander to Harlan’s lips. Thin, but nice. Cooper lifted his gaze to Harlan’s. The heated stare made his heartbeat kick up another notch.
Still, Harlan did nothing.
Those two fractions within Cooper warred with each other again. One happy Harlan was letting Cooper call the shots, the other disappointed Harlan hadn’t taken the lead. Except Harlan was smart. Taking the lead would give Cooper someone to blame if things went downhill.
In making Cooper choosing to kiss him it all fell squarely at Cooper’s feet and no one else’s.
I do want this. I want to feel his lips against mine.
Otherwise Cooper would always question what was going on between them.
Only one way to figure it out. Cooper scooted forward, licking his lips. One corner of Harlan’s mouth twitched.
Cooper leaned in and his breath hitched. A hand went to his side. And the moment their mouths met, It was like an electrical jolt hit Cooper in the gut.
About Freddy MacKayI grew up and went to college in the Midwest where I currently reside with my family. I spend most of my time playing sports and running around outside. And honestly, that much has not changed since I was little, except who is included my activities. I also have a healthy geocaching addiction. It’s so much fun! I enjoy spending my time traveling when I can, and I hold the view that a person should continually to learn about new things and people whenever possible.
My contemporary LGBTQ book, Incubation: Finding Peace 2, won 3rd Place – Best Gay Erotic Fiction in the 2012 Rainbow Awards. In 2013, Internment, won 3rd Place – Best Gay Fantasy in the Rainbow Awards. Feel Me (The Marduck Expanse) was a Gay SF Finalist and Honorable Mention in the 2014 Rainbow Awards.
One random commenter with thoughtful, relevant comments will win a $25 gift certificate each month in 2016.
|This post may contain affiliate links.
|Prism Book Alliance® assumes no liability for the ownership of photos or content used in guest posts and interviews. The post author assumes all responsibility and liability for this content.|