Romulus Adair is one happy rancher until things don't go at all like he'd dreamed, and he has to face a future where he and the man he loves may never be in for a happy ending.
It's been two long years since Romulus Adair has seen the man he's been in love with for as long as he can remember. Now that Davis Bainbridge is back on the neighboring ranch, he can't wait for them to move from being just good friends to something much more serious. However, to Romulus' dismay, their relationship does not evolve as expected, and he must deal with the heart wrenching quandary of whether to move on with another in an attempt to get over the love of his life, or to hang on tight to the hope of a future filled with Davis.
"I've met someone, Romulus. I'm sorry, but I'm going to have to end things with you."
Warren's quiet and earnest announcement left me momentarily speechless. I had to take a very needed moment to process the implications of what I'd just heard, and as my mind weighed what it had been told, a wave of shock pulsed rapidly through my body. While I'd been curious as to why we'd not had a proper conversation for almost six weeks, I'd never dreamed a new lover was the cause.
"You started dating him about a month and a half ago, didn't you?" I asked tentatively. I had no doubt his answer would be in the affirmative, but this was about as cogent a question I could come up with in the present situation. The fact that for the better part of the last half dozen weeks I'd been the one to initiate phone calls, his text responses had been clipped, and we hadn't met let alone had sex, now made perfect sense. After my little epiphany, I felt it was appropriate for me to remove my hands from where they were being held on the table by his. My now clenched fists rested heavily in my lap.
Warren nodded. "He wants to be exclusive and so do I. Neither one of us has been with anyone else since we started seeing each other, but he knows about you, and felt it was only fair I inform you he and I are now in a relationship. He also told me he won't sleep with me until after I've made it clear to you that he will now be the only man in my bed," he explained softly.
"I guess you must really like this guy then." I wasn't sure how I pulled it off, but somehow, I was able to sound much calmer than I felt.
"I want to be with him more than anything," he stated unequivocally.
Right, then. You really couldn't make things any clearer than that. It appeared he'd made up his mind, and it was readily apparent from his tone and demeanor there was no point in trying to convince him otherwise. I then said the only thing I felt fit the circumstances.
"Congratulations fucker!" I was genuinely happy for the guy. "It's about time you found someone besides me that can tolerate your ass for more than five minutes! When do I get to meet the poor bastard?"
"Um, well, he should be here shortly. He wants to talk to you in person. He didn't tell me why." Warren seemed a little concerned about me conversing with his new guy, but I was delighted to have the chance to talk to with him. I was also very glad to see Warren's face take on a dreamy expression as he described his beau.
"His name is Kent Ivers and he just took over his uncle's accounting firm in town. He'd been working at a large firm in the city, but he wasn't happy there, so he jumped at the chance to move here and step into a small business with a ready-made clientele. His uncle had a good reputation with his business and personal clients, and Kent is dedicated to following in his footsteps."
"Someone has it bad," I teased.
"Just you wait until it happens to you. In fact, I do believe that you will soon be suffering from the same affliction soon, if you're not already," he taunted.
Just then a young man of diminutive size (well he was a few inches shorter than my five ten, so I thought it was a fair assessment) appeared at Warren's side. His carefully styled hair was a lovely shade of light brown, and he bore a large pair of bright hazel eyes. I noticed the shade of his irises were similar to mine, though his leaned much more towards the brown end of the spectrum, while mine were heavily into the green. I presumed he'd just come from work because he was wearing a well-tailored suit, and it looked like he had yet to remove his business face. However, his serious countenance didn't detract from the reality that he was one heck of a dapper and handsome dude.
"What is taking you so long?" he inquired of Warren impatiently. "You were supposed to text me when you were done so I could come in and start getting some answers."
"We just finished up. Are you sure this is necessary? I mean, I think Romulus is really quite busy. Right, Rom?" Warren's eyes implored me to agree. Unfortunately for him, he didn't have a hope in hell that I would. I then noticed that Kent was looking me over speculatively.
"Yeah, this was the guy I saw making sheep eyes at Davis Bainbridge," Kent said matter of factly.
"I was not," I sputtered in indignation. Though I had to admit there was a good possibility I had been looking at Davis like some lovesick lamb. Okay, I definitely had been, but no one was supposed to have noticed.
"Sure, you were. He was mooning over you too. It was sad watching both of you trying not to get caught telegraphing your infatuation." Kent shook his head as he spoke.
"I have no idea of what you speak. I have no such intentions towards Mr. Bainbridge, and I would thank you to not raise the issue anon."
That should clear things up nicely.
"Is he going to throw a gauntlet now, and challenge me to a duel for his honor?" Kent asked Warren with a chuckle.
"He sometimes gets like that when he is flustered," Warren responded.
It was then I noticed the glint in Kent's eyes.
"If you're so sure you are right, how about we have a little bet. If you are together with Davis by this time next week you owe both Warren and I a large beverage and pastry of our choice. If you're not we will each buy the same for you, deal?" He held out his hand for a shake.
"Fine," I said, grumpily taking his hand and thereby confirming my agreement to be a party to his wager of love and tempting treats. There was no way I was going to back down from his little challenge, and now that our bet was set it was time to get the focus off of me, and onto someone else. Someone like Warren. I looked at him and he immediately tensed.
"What do you want to know, Kent?" I said cheerily, while listening to Warren groan.
"Well, I just have a few quick questions. First, is Warren a good lover?"
The subject of Kent's query promptly began to choke on his scone.
"Yes, he is, he is very attentive to his partner's needs," I responded.
A quick glance at Warren told me he was searching quite desperately for a rock to crawl under.
"How is his stamina?" Kent inquired, and I was pretty sure I heard Warren mutter, "Kill me now."
"He has great stamina, and as bonus I'll tell you that if you want him to blow like a geyser, focus your attention on his left nipple. I mean, don't forget to give his right some love, but the guy is definitely left-nippled," I stated with the authority of one who was very familiar with the subject under discussion.
Warren now looked like he was no longer truly aware of his surroundings. I really hoped he was enjoying some quality time in his happy place.
"Okay, last question. Is he a good snuggler?"
To my surprise, Kent seemed to be the most interested in the answer to this question.
"While Warren and I have had sex, and often slept all night in the same bed, we didn't snuggle. It wasn't our thing," I explained.
Warren Tatham and I had met years ago at college where we had both been enrolled in the agricultural program. We tried dating, but soon realized that we were destined to be lifelong friends. That didn't mean we didn't enjoy having sex with each other, because we did. It just meant that as soon as one of us entered into a relationship we would let the other know, and we would stop sleeping together. Such an arrangement might not work for everyone, but for us it did.
Kent turned to Warren and caught him with a gimlet eye, "I am an unapologetic hard-core snuggler. When the sex is done you will be the big spoon and snuggle with me until you are informed otherwise. If this is unacceptable to you in any way please state so now. The snuggling parameters of this relationship are nonnegotiable," he declared emphatically.
Warren stepped over to Kent, turned him so his back was to his chest, and slowly draped himself over the smaller man. Since Warren was six three, there was quite a bit to drape. I thought they looked great together. I'd always liked Warren's fiery red hair, and even though my hair was black, my beard was actually quite a similar cardinal color, though I generally went with a clean shave these days. Warren's olive-green eyes were looking at Kent with amusement. "I just couldn't wait to hold my little spoon," he crooned while Kent struggled to get away.
"Quit mauling me," Kent said, though there was no heat to his words. Additionally, I noted he sported a rather large smile on his face, and he seemed to be quite enjoying having Warren's body wrapped around his. After Warren whispered something in Kent's ear, he immediately pulled himself out of Warren's grasp.
"I'm going to get an espresso and then we are leaving," he announced quickly, and then made a beeline for the counter.
"I like him," I said truthfully.
"Me too," Warren sighed.
While Kent got his coffee, Warren and I chatted amiably for a couple of minutes, and only broke off our talk when we heard the sharp snapping of fingers.
"Let's go Warren, we're burning snuggle time here." It was apparent Kent was quite ready to depart, and by how quickly Warren moved to his side, it was obvious he was on the same page.
"See you, Rom. Kent and I will thoroughly enjoy the coffee and treat you will be buying us next week." Warren could be a smug fucker. I'd give him that.
"I believe you are incorrect. It's you and Kent who will each be buying me a trough-sized cappuccino and accompanying ginormous croissant or other goody of my choice," I stated with confidence.
Warren and I had a really nice goodbye hug. I also gave him a big wet kiss on the cheek that he required a napkin to mop up. I was then surprised to receive a high-quality hug from Kent as well. I could tell that Warren would have to bring his snuggling "A game" if he wanted to keep Kent satisfied.
"I promise to take good care of him," Kent whispered.
"I'm sure you will take good care of each other," I responded in my perviest tone after we'd ended our blue-ribbon embrace. Kent merely laughed, and they both waved as they left the cafe.
I was not going to lose this challenge. I mean, how could I. To do so meant I had gotten together with Davis Bainbridge, and that was not going to happen. Nope. Not a chance. No losing for me. No sir. No way. No how. Though, there was part of me, a rather substantial part... Who was I trying to kid. The truth was that every last piece of me desperately wanted to make a multicourse meal of the extremely tasty and tantalizing Mr. Bainbridge, and based on how well our recent time together had gone, I thought there was a really good chance that my adult self would get to experience what my teenage self had only dreamed of.