Daniel Self seems to finally have his life in order, with David Towne as his new love interest, and his good friend, Dunnelly, there for him in whatever capacity he should need him. But Daniel’s past troubles aren’t behind him just yet. His old boss at Sportstech, Melanie Carlisle, has a score to settle with him and she takes no prisoners. Daniel is blindsided when he meets Jordan, the man who was having an affair with his wife, Jenna, while they were still married. Jordan no longer sees women and has his own agenda when it comes to Daniel.
“I have mixed emotions about working out in this gym,” Dunnelly said to Nigel as they pulled into the parking spot of the familiar Oak Lawn facility.
“Why would that be?” Nigel asked.
“Memories,” Dunnelly answered. This is where I met Craig, and I was still with Denton at the time while the whole Jamie Barnes mess was happening. I guess I have some guilt about Craig that I’m still dealing with.”
“Let it go, for Christ’s sake, Dunn. Craig is happy, if you haven’t noticed,” Nigel said as he opened the door for Dunnelly, “and besides, that led you to me, did it not?”
“Yeah, you’re right,” Dunnelly said. He did a double take as he looked up to realize the gym had a new ad campaign, and the image of Jenna Self no longer stared back at him.
Dunnelly changed quickly and casually observed Nigel at the adjacent locker methodically taking his time as he dug into his gym bag and stood comfortably in the nude beside him. He noticed as Nigel became the locker room focal point. Many of the men in various forms of undress paused to observe Nigel as he slowly searched through his bag.
Dunnelly and Nigel had spent many nights in the arms of one another. Dunnelly had explored every inch of Nigel’s body and yet he thought he was seeing things about him for the first time. Nigel was only two inches taller, but he appeared to tower over him. The blue veins in his forearms looked like artwork against his pale English skin. His size twelve feet looked even larger and his tall and lean frame was almost mythical as his eyes scanned down and settled between his legs. Circumcision would have flawed this perfect picture and he was thankful that Nigel had been left as nature intended.
Nigel caught him staring and he grinned as if he knew what Dunnelly was thinking.
“I’ll meet you in the workout area,” Dunnelly said as he turned to leave.
“Are we ready to do this, Daniel?”
“Absolutely,” Daniel smiled. “Wait a sec, I have a bottle of champagne chilled, and I think we should celebrate the occasion. After all, we’re celebrating a new life together.”
“Of course…gotta have champagne.”
Daniel and David stepped through the double doors and onto the warmth of the new teak flooring. They walked slowly and silently from room to room, smiling at one another. The space was cutting edge modern, but masculine in feeling. The space was comfortable, sensual, and easy.
“Hey, Danny Boy, you’re not saying anything. Don’t you approve?”
“Are you kidding me? How could I not approve? David, it has been a long time coming, but I feel that I’m home at last, and I never really had that.” Daniel put his arms around David. “We’re home, David.”
“My life began the day I met you, Daniel. Please don’t leave me,” David said with a little boy quality, his child inside returning.
“Why would I leave you? You’re everything to me,” Daniel said as he poured two glasses of champagne.
“I’m sorry Daniel, but Michele said the same thing to me in high school. I don’t want that to happen with you.”
“If Michele had not ended it, you wouldn’t be here with me now.”
David clutched his hand behind Daniel’s neck as they leaned in and touched foreheads. “To us, Daniel, and whatever it brings.” They downed their champagne and refilled their glasses.
“Shall we check out our adjacent dens? I’m sure they will be our favorite places.”
They stepped into Daniel’s den and looked into a prism of Daniel’s past, present and future. His yearbooks, trophies, diplomas, and keepsakes from college and friends were neatly arranged and artfully framed.
“How can I grieve my past and feel joy in my future at the same time?” Daniel asked the rhetorical question.
“Take your own advice,” David replied. “We have to be happy now. There’s no other option.”
They walked through the adjacent double doors and stepped into David’s larger and magnificently appointed den.
“Wow…David Towne central in here,” Daniel smiled as he looked around the room. The massive desk was neatly organized as were the trophies and collectables from past victories on the football field. Handsomely framed endorsements from cereal box covers and beer advertisements from international companies were artfully grouped on the central wall. Daniel looked up, and above the fireplace was the massively reframed shadow box of David’s number 26 Jersey.
Daniel reached out to touch David’s hand, and at that moment a slight dull sound came from the wall above, followed by a massive crash and shattering of glass. David and Daniel leapt to their feet as Daniel shrieked, “What the hell?” The shadow box framed jersey had come loose from the wall and shattered into pieces as shards scattered across the room.
“Is someone trying to tell me something, Daniel?” David asked.
“They’re trying to tell us to use stronger screws,” Daniel smiled casually, trying to make light of the situation.