Aryan Gregor the II is the lead singer of the loved and hated band, the Cum Buckets. When a member of the audience whacks him over the head with a beer bottle, he finds himself struck by amnesia. He can’t remember the band, his friends, or his lover, Dante. As a psychotic pigeon-lover vows to end his life, he must navigate a world where his dad is pushing him to be what he was and Dante is helping him discover who he is. He comes to realize love transcends all, and that even if his memories never come back, he can fall in love with Dante all over again.
Be Warned: m/m sex
After a few days, Aryan was finally well enough to go “home.” Not that he was looking forward to it. He would be staying with his parents, since he didn’t want to live with a perfect stranger. He’d move back in with Dante after a few days. Though if his dad had his way, he wouldn’t be moving back in with Dante at all.
As Aryan ignored the way his head was still aching—no medicine was a magic bullet—he fell in stride with Dante on the way out to his car. For a moment he took the man in, noting his thin frame and the beginnings of a beard that Aryan wasn’t sure was normal for him or not. Maybe he’d been so stressed he hadn’t shaved. Not his normal type of the business-suit-boss-bad-boy like Griffin he usually fell for. Still, he could see how much the man cared for him.
When they reached the car, a white Honda pulled into the drop-off zone, and he watched a thin, reedy guy with long greasy hair staring out at them. While Dante unlocked the car, the man held his gaze, his stare intense. What the hell is this guy’s problem? he wondered as he slid into the passenger seat. A gift-wrapped box was on the floor, and as Dante climbed behind the wheel, he gave the box a pointed glance.
“That’s a get-well gift from Wobbles.” Dante inserted his key into the ignition and pulled out of his spot.
“It’s safe, isn’t it?” he asked nervously. “The man sent me a stripper.”
“Wobbles wouldn’t give you drugs or shit like that. He knows you don’t like reefer or anything.” Dante reached over and patted his hand, an intimate gesture that likely happened every day between lovers. Realizing what he’d just done, he froze, his tongue darting to the corner of his mouth. “Sorry. I just … sorry.”
Much to his surprise, he hadn’t flinched at the touch. Even though Dante wasn’t on the cover of GQ, he felt an explosion of warmth travel through him from his hand. Maybe things will work out, he told himself. Dante isn’t so bad. Still, he wasn’t sure how to do the strangled cat impersonation in front of an audience like he used to do.
Deep in thought, he barely noticed as Dante pulled onto the highway and drove in the slow lane. It was only as cars passed them that he noticed Dante was going the exact speed limit. Meanwhile, he used the speed limit as a mere suggestion.
He glanced in the rearview mirror. “You can pass,” he said as they approached a truck.
“Yeah, since you don’t remember, I was wondering if you would say something or not.” Dante gave a soft chuckle. “My driving always drove you nuts. I am a, uh, very careful driver. I don’t like the thought of hurting someone if things go wrong.”
For a moment Aryan watched him, and he couldn’t hide a smile. “Cute.”
“You did not just call me cute,” Dante said, clapping his free hand to his chest as if mortally wounded.
“You practically revoked my man card.” Maybe because of the comment or annoyance, he passed the turkey truck. “Cute? When I get home, I’m going to have to do like two hundred push-ups to get it back.”
While he loved Griffin, he realized he always strived to impress him. That was not the case with Dante. Being with Dante was just … easy. Like they’d been best friends all along, even though it had only been a few years. And he liked it. Weird.
“Shit, what the hell is with this guy?” Dante said, dragging him from his thoughts.
“What’s wrong?” Though he could be wrong, he was coming to learn that Dante didn’t lose his cool very easily. At least, he thought he didn’t. Hard to say after only a day.
It took him a moment to realize Dante had his eyes on the rearview mirror. “This guy has been following us the whole way. We haven’t made many turns so it wouldn’t be that weird, but since I’m such a slow driver, no one usually hangs behind me.”
All traces of a grin disappearing from his face, he peered into the rearview mirror too. Much to his shock, the guy from the hospital drove behind them, his intense gaze now focused on them. For some reason, a shiver ran down his spine, even though he knew the man couldn’t meet his gaze. Maybe the guy was a crazy meth head. He was skinny and pockmarked enough, that’s for sure. Pain pulsed through his head, and he wasn’t sure if it was because of the situation or the injury.
“That guy was staring at us at the hospital,” he growled, as he double-checked his seat belt. “But why the hell would someone care enough to follow me?”
“I think you’ve forgotten you’re a semi-famous musician.” Dante took the exit to head back into town. Surprise, surprise, the guy made the turn too. “People love you or they hate you. Even though we’re not the type, we live in an upscale community because of this.” He took a left, and the man dropped a car length behind them. “He’s going further back. Maybe it’s just nothing. I’ll stick around your parents’ house for a bit to make sure he doesn’t try anything.”
“Yeah, my dad may be a wildcat in the courtroom, but I’m pretty sure he’d start crying if someone even threatened to hit him over the head with a beer bottle.” They pulled up to his parents’ house and parked at the side of the road. “I can usually hold my own but with my head injury I’m not sure how tough of a fighter I’d be.”
“Let’s just keep something from happening.” Dante turned in his seat, looking down the road and then up. “I don’t see anyone.”
For a moment the two of them sat in the car, not speaking. No car drove by. No insane fan came to hit him over the head with a Corona. He relaxed and put his hand on the door handle, but Dante glanced over at him, his eyes almost as intense as the stalker’s.
“Wait.” Dante reached for him, realized what he was doing, and placed his hand back on his lap. “This is about your dad. I know you don’t remember or trust me right now, but your dad isn’t a nice guy.” He paused. “I just wanted you to know that before you get hurt again. There’s a reason you’re no longer a lawyer at his firm.”
The words hurt because it brought a hailstorm of memories. Crying to his dad when he was eight because he was being beat up on the playground and being waved off as if he was a piece of trash. Getting an A but being mocked for not getting an A+.
The words made him angry, and he wasn’t sure who he was angry with—himself, his dad, or Dante. He bit back saying words he would regret as his mom came out the front door and rushed over to the car. The tension dissipated, and he opened the door and hopped out. He reached out to hug her hello, but she awkwardly stepped away, not a fan of physical touch. He wondered if Dante noticed. Still, that didn’t make his parents criminals.