Alan Sommers has loved his boss, Kincaid Malloy, for as long as he can remember, and though he’s gay, Kincaid doesn’t seem to choose men like him. In fact, Kincaid’s late longtime partner seemed to be the opposite of Alan.
Still, hope springs eternal, and every morning Alan comes in early to make sure Kincaid’s coffee and office are just perfect for him. It’s the least he can do for the man he loves from afar. So when Kincaid asks him to house and pet sit while Kincaid goes out of state for a conference and a weekend rendezvous, Alan agrees.
When Alan meets Kincaid’s neighbor, he thinks maybe it’s time to abandon his love for Kincaid and move on to give someone else a chance. But perhaps it was just the push the stubborn Kincaid needed, and loving the boss won’t be the mistake it’s always been.
“Thanks for bringing me my coffee.” He went to his desk and sat down, taking a sip. “As perfect as ever.”
Alan beamed, knowing it was foolish to feel so ridiculously good. He allowed himself a moment of ogling while Kincaid got situated. The man must be close to forty now, which probably made him ten years or so older than Alan, maybe slightly more. He was classically handsome, sort of like George Clooney, although without the gray, but masculine and muscular. Tall, dark and yummy.
“Sit down, Alan. No need to stand at attention,” Kincaid said with a smile, indicating one of the two armchairs in front of his desk.
He took the chair right across from his boss and waited, clutching the pad in his hands.
Kincaid took a lingering sip of his coffee. “You don’t need to take notes or anything. This is a personal matter.”
“A personal matter?” Alan was sure the color had gone out of his face. It could only be one of two things. Either his boss was going to fire him or he’d found out about Alan’s crush and was uncomfortable and either planned to fire him or transfer his services to another attorney. He dreaded either choice. The coffee in his stomach turned sour.
“Of sorts. But before I get into it, I’d like to tell you that your job is not in jeopardy, no matter what.”
Alan blew out a breath. “Okay. Thanks. I was starting to worry.”
“I figured. I’ve been extremely pleased with your performance since you’ve been my assistant. You’ve become a very valuable asset and a great team member.”
He tried not to puff up with the praise, but it was admittedly difficult. “Thank you, Kincaid.”
“Kin. Hardly anyone calls me Kincaid.”
Which, of course, was why Alan preferred to call him Kincaid. It seemed somehow special that way. But he nodded.
“Anyway.” Kincaid took a few more sips of his coffee before continuing. “I’ve got a business trip coming up.”
“Yes, sir, you’re going to Milwaukee.” Alan had made the flight and hotel arrangements for the legal conference himself. It was a requirement of the California Bar that attorneys obtain a certain amount of continuous education hours and this conference would go toward the requirement for Kincaid.
“Right. Normally, I wouldn’t bother you with this.” He seemed reluctant to continue.
“Bother me with what?”
“Unfortunately, I have rather a menagerie of pets. Ben loved animals, all kinds of them, and really I didn’t have the heart to get rid of them after he died. So that presents a problem whenever I travel out of town.” Kincaid sighed. “Normally I ask my sister, but, well, she’s not available either. She and her boyfriend are going to Europe.”
Alan nodded. “I see. You want me to feed your pets while you are away?”
“Yes, but actually, more than that. I’d like to ask you to stay at my house to watch over the pets, the house, water the plants, that kind of thing.” He drummed his fingers on the desk. “I thought maybe, you know, considering you’re staying with your brother and his family right now, you might like a break from the madness there.”
He had a point, Alan supposed. He’d moved in with his brother’s family last year to assist them both financially since his sister-in-law had been laid off and Alan found himself facing mounting bills he couldn’t seem to get a handle on. For the most part living there hadn’t been terrible, but he missed his privacy.
“You’re going to be gone Wednesday through Sunday, right?”
“Right. The conference is only until Friday, but an old friend of mine is going to be there the same weekend.”
Alan remembered. The old friend was a former lover and as far as Alan could tell Kincaid and the friend intended to hook up for the weekend and get reacquainted. Which made Alan completely unhappy, but there was little he could do about it. Besides being Kincaid’s employee, as far as Alan could tell, he didn’t go for slim, almost pretty twinks like him.
“Listen, though, Alan, you really don’t have to do this if you’d rather not. I won’t mind and I am sure I can get someone else.”
He shook his head. “No, I can do it. No problem.”
Kincaid smiled. “Thanks. And I’ll pay you extra besides.”
“You don’t have to do that.”
“I want to even if I don’t have to. I know this isn’t between an employer and an employee, but between friends, and I still think you deserve some extra cash.”
Alan didn’t think they were friends, at all, actually. They’d never done anything outside of the office together and they’d rarely had a personal conversation. Kincaid only knew about his living arrangement because he’d overheard Alan discussing it with Bea one day.
He didn’t fault Kincaid for that. Alan had never had a more than business relationship with people he worked with and figured that was pretty much the norm. It certainly was at the law firm they both worked at.
But he nodded. “Is here anything else then?”