Ben Harper can’t understand why his best friend and roommate for the past five years always gets involved with the wrong men. Feeling protective, Ben is seriously concerned about his friend’s latest date, which leads to an ugly confrontation.
Sammy Matthews thinks he needs love more than he needs saving. He has known rejection and abuse since he was a child, and has been looking for love in all the wrong places. Sammy still has to realize he needs to deal with his past before he’ll find acceptance, and then love.
When Ben and Sammy confess their true feelings to each other, their lives change irrevocably. But will Sammy heal from his past wounds? How will Ben deal with the demons from Sammy’s past and the unexpected chemistry between them? Will the two men enjoy and cherish their natural fit?
They made quick work of the mess. It’s only as he’s standing there, watching wine soak into a tea towel that he remembers the flash. “Did you take a picture of us fighting?”
“Oh, honey, that wasn’t fighting. That was a prelude to something else entirely.”
Ben blinked down at the tea towel and tried to process what Darla was saying. He drew a blank and sighed. “You have something to say.” It was a statement, not a question. He was sure she did.
To his surprise, she seemed to hesitate, looking at her phone, presumably at the picture she took of them wrestling. She bit her lip, and that’s when Ben knew her hesitancy was real, not false for the dramatic effect. she really did have something to say, and she wasn’t sure how he’d take whatever it was.
She glanced at the closed bathroom door before she turned the phone around for Ben to see. In the picture, he was on top of Sammy, who was sprawled on the floor, all long limbs and angles. Ben was holding down Sammy’s shoulders in the picture, and both their faces were clearly visible. It looked like they were about to kiss and fuck, Ben did not expect the stab of disappointment he felt knowing they didn’t kiss.
“Oh,” Ben said out loud, sitting down and taking Darla’s phone with him. “Oh, fuck, Dar,” Ben mumbled, realizing that he was shaking. He couldn't breathe. He squeezed his hand around her phone, in an attempt to feel something other than the crushing weight of the realization he just had.
“Darla, I’m in love with Sammy,” he told her quietly, his voice trembling.
Darla nodded. “You are.”
Ben leaned forward, both arms wrapping around his suddenly queasy stomach. “I’m not straight?”
"Doesn't seem like it," Darla agreed easily. Too easily.
"You knew I wasn't straight!?" He whisper-shouted at her. "This is pretty big news to me, Dar. And you're not even shocked!"
Darla bit her lip again, then sighed. "I mean ... I've gone with you to three pride parades. You get more joy out of it than me and Sammy combined. And I followed your eyeline a few times, Pip. You were checking out dudes as well as chicks."
Ben thought back to his last few pride parades. How he had gone to support Sammy but had always had a good time. He felt like he was more among his people when he was there than any other time.
"You also got drunk once and decided to tell me all the things in porn that's a turn off for you," Darla went on. "Except you wound up naming more things you like about the guys in porn than hate. I know you like a good beard but porn-staches take you right out of the moment."
Ben giggled. He may be a grown adult with a job and an apartment, but he had the sense of humor of a teenage boy. Porn-stache was a great word. Then he sobered up again, the booze long since lost the battle between it and life altering realizations. Sorry Bellinis, Ben thought, you were wonderful while you lasted.
“Don’t look like that,” Darla said, softly and in her best calming voice. He heard that voice a lot, when he was having anxiety attacks. It was her ‘you’re pointing your emotions in the wrong direction’ tone of voice. “You look like someone just killed your puppy, not like you just realized you’re in love.”
“I’m in love with a man. A man I live with and am best friends with. It’s a lot to take in, Dar, my head is spinning.”
“Calm down. You two click like puzzle pieces.”
“Calm down? Calm down? What if he doesn’t love me back!?” Ben definitely yelled that, and obviously didn’t mean to. The last thing he needed was Sammy hearing him right now.
“Did you see that picture?” Darla asked. She pulled out her phone out of Ben’s tight grasp and a moment later Ben’s phone buzzed. “There. Now you have it forever. Look at it any time you doubt that man loves you too.”
Ben dutifully took out his phone to look at the picture. Sammy was gazing right back at him, and yeah ... that was love looking back at him.
“I’m gonna have to be subtle about this,” Ben said.
He could do subtle.