Sequel to The Nutcracker
P is for Penne Alla Vodka and Garth Morgan and Tony Luciano are determined not to let the horrors of the Pulse nightclub shootings prevent them from celebrating their eighteen-month anniversary with the next dish on their A-Z list of pasta dishes. Garth knows he’ll be eating ziti on his wedding day, but before then he has one other important question to ask Tony, one that affects not just his life but also that of Adam, Garth’s ten-year-old son.
Will dessert be as sweet as Garth hopes, or will Tony’s answer leave a bad taste in his mouth?
Note: This short story was originally published in the charity collection, Love Is Proud.
Back in the restaurant, Tony raised a curious eyebrow when Garth ran a socked foot up Tony’s leg.
Garth grinned but soon sat up straighter in his seat when their antipasto platter arrived.
Tony picked up a huge black olive and, leaning forward, fed it to Garth.
Once they’d finished their appetizer, the empty platter was taken away and Garth gazed over at his square-jawed lover, still sporting a high and tight haircut. Even though Tony had been out of the Corps for years he still had that total incredibly sexy, don’t-mess-with-me bearing that never failed to get Garth’s motor running.
“What?” Tony asked. “Do I have something stuck in my teeth?” He stuck a finger in his mouth and ran it around.
Garth laughed. “No, you’re good.” Under his breath he muttered, “Better than good.”
Tony grinned and flexed his arms, causing Garth to squirm in his seat. Tony’s muscles were a big turn on, and the big Italian knew it and often teased Garth with a display.
“Stop it!” Garth hissed and reached under the table to adjust his equipment.
Tony’s green eyes twinkled. “Wanna skip the rest of dinner and ...?” He waggled his eyebrows.
Before Garth could answer, their entrées were delivered.
Garth could only cook the basics, and although Tony was pretty handy in the kitchen, he worked long hours as a security guard in a shopping mall, so they ate out about once a week, sometimes taking Adam with them, and other times dropping Adam off at his grandparents.
Although they ate a wide variety of cuisines, each time they had pasta, Tony insisted Garth try a new dish, systematically working their way through the alphabet.
On their first date Tony had chosen angel hair pasta. Garth had no idea what had been served with it; he’d been too mesmerized by his dining companion. How had Garth -- Mr. Average, middle school science teacher, with custody of a kid from a failed marriage, ever landed a date with the tall, Dark, and Drop-Dead-Sexy former Marine?
“Earth to Garth?” Tony waved a hand in front of Gath’s face.
“Uh?” Garth looked up at his lover. Seemed little had changed over the past year and a half. Garth was still amazed Tony was his.