Clifford Ames is almost forty years old, and his ever-patient dog, Bambi Turgelson, is his only friend. Why? Because his egotistical boss and former closeted lover, Lambert Morton takes fiendish pleasure in working him to death, twenty-four-seven. Clifford knows he should leave the company and his unrequited love behind, but he keeps punishing himself by staying and taking the abuse, thinking things will be different, one day.
A wedding invitation from a far-flung cousin gives him the impetus to make a change, even if it's just for a three-day weekend. Enter Jetson Briscoe, son of the owner of the picturesque resort where the wedding is being held. His own personal Paul Bunyan come to life, Jetson gives Clifford a glimpse of the kind of life he could have, without the stress and crippling headaches and possible ulcer he deals with day-to-day. Will it be enough to make him change?
“Do you, Ian Grover Lilley, take Corey Buster Mandrake to be your husband, to have and to hold, until death do you part?”
I had tears in my eyes as I sat next to Jet, handsome and larger than life, by the way, in his dove gray suit, listening to the men before us exchange vows. Both grooms were so fervent in their love and adoration for each other, it was beautiful. I wanted a love like that one day, now that I’d given myself the chance to have such a thing.
“You all right?” Jet whispered to me, and I nodded.
“It’s wonderful to see love like that,” I whispered back. He tilted his head in agreement.
“I now pronounce you husband and husband. You may kiss your groom,” the officiate said, and Corey laid a kiss on Ian that made even Bambi, sitting next the groomsmen, bark in acknowledgement.
Everyone laughed heartily and clapped as they stood to watch the newly-weds practically float down the make-shift aisle. All the guests at the resort were in attendance, and the Gryffindor theme colors were everywhere. Yes, the grooms had worn the colors, but as ties, not suits, thank the universe. Corey was a big fan of the Harry Potter series, and apparently, whatever Corey wanted, Ian did everything he could to get it. And vice versa. They were so cute together.
The evening was filled with laughter, speeches and dancing. My head was still pounding a bit, but I knew it would eventually fade. I just needed some rest. I also had to decide what to do with my life now, not that there was any rush.
Jet asked me to dance and I let him take me in his arms and move us around the grassy floor next to the other couples.
“You look like you’re deep in thought, Cliff,” Jet commented as he spun me in a circle, then bent me backward over his arm.
I answered him a little breathlessly when I straightened. “I’m a free man. It’s a lot to get used to, you know? I was good at my job, but I let it consume me. I’d like to find something to do that wouldn’t take me over like that, ever again.”
“There’s no rush, right? You’ve probably saved every penny and invested some, too, I bet.”
“I have. I’d like to just ‘be’ for a while. I think I’ll extend my reservation for another week here, if you think you can handle a broken man and his dog hanging around for a while longer.”
“Not even an issue. I’ll throw out a guest if I have to.”
I glared at him, but he winked, so I poked him in the side. “You’re crazy.”
“Maybe, but I like having you around. I love spending time with you. I haven’t felt a connection like this with anyone in a long time.” He cleared his throat. “Does that scare you?”
I shook my head. “Just the opposite.”
His gaze sharpened. “That right?”
In answer, I moved my hands to his shoulders and stood on tip-toe to kiss him softly.
“It’s about damn time,” I heard a woman say and jerked my head around to see Jet’s mom sail by with one of the single male guests of the resort.