It's hot. Really hot. Stace Whitehall is not a fan of the heat wave drenching the city, but that’s the least of his worries. He’s also in heated lust with his coworker, Jenson Sommers, who’s dating Bransworth Manley, a model. Stace knows he can't compete.
However, after a company hike in Stone Mountain Park -- dumb idea in this weather, as far as Stace is concerned -- Jenson announces he's single now. Is it the heat, or is Stace hearing things? The two men end up going out on a date, and everything is perfect until Bransworth turns up with accusations about Jenson that make Stace’s skin crawl.
Bransworth and Stace bond over being duped, and then Jenson threatens them with a gun. It could be the hot weather making everyone crazy, but maybe for Bransworth and Stace, after all they’ve been through, the temperature’s just right.
I heard voices in the living room. It sounded like Jenson was trying to calm our early morning visitor, but the unknown man’s voice kept getting louder and louder, and then something broke.
Concerned, I got up and fumbled around to find a pair of Jenson’s shorts to wear before I ran into the front room. Once there, I saw Jenson dodging picture frames and other objects as they were thrown at him haphazardly. No one noticed me standing there, gaping at the appalling scene.
“Bransworth, stop it! You’re going to hurt me, the man you say you love. How will you feel if I end up in the hospital, huh, baby? You’ll never forgive yourself, though I don’t give a rat’s ass about you.” The sneer in Jenson’s voice was...unexpected. I’d never heard him sound so callous. What the hell was going on here?
“You played me for a fool, you little slut. You never meant a word you said to me about love. It was just a line you’ve used thousands of times before to land a piece of ass. You reel the guy in, then screw him over.” Another picture frame went sailing past Jenson’s head and almost hit me, this time.
“You heard what you wanted to hear. I never once said I loved you. I was in it for a good time, that’s all. I’ve moved on to another nice ‘piece of ass,’ as you call it. A guy so desperate and hot for me that he was easy pickings. And when I’m done with him, I’ll move on to another. Get over yourself and find somebody else to bother. True love and marriage and all that other hogwash is total bullshit. What are you, a twelve-year-old girl?” His laughter was cruel.
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I looked at Bransworth. His face was crestfallen, and I saw the hurt, desperation and longing that was so plain on his features. In that moment, I knew we’d both been played for fools.
“Wait just a goddamned minute,” I said, interrupting the heated exchange. “Did you just say I was ‘easy pickings,’ you overgrown piece of shit?”
The look of dismay and consternation on Jenson’s face was almost as gratifying as the mortification that flushed my skin was debilitating. At least Bransworth had stopped throwing things. The look he gave me, though was somewhere between disgust and sympathy.
Jenson immediately rallied, attempting contrition. “Come on, baby. You know I’m only saying that so he’ll leave. You’re all I think about. I want you. Only you.”
Except, all the things I’d thought were true and wonderful about Jenson Sommers had been a lie. And I’d fallen for it, completely. I’d been so caught up in the idea of Jenson, that I’d been unable to see what he really was: a selfish, low-life prick.
“Fuck. You.” I left the two men to their argument, gathered my tattered dignity, and went to find my own clothing.
Everything was wrinkled, sweaty, and not at all ready for public viewing, but I had to leave this place. Right now.
I quickly dressed, made sure I had my wallet, keys, and cell phone, and stalked to the front door. Jenson paused in his argument with Bransworth to block my escape.
“You can’t leave like this,” he began, but I moved him out of the way, shoving him so hard he stumbled.
“You don’t get to tell me what I can or can’t do! You make me sick.” I yanked the door open and ran down the steps to the street, walking briskly toward the bus stop I’d seen last night on our way here, when things were still...wonderful.
I barely noticed the heat or the sweat that stained my rumpled clothes, yet again. It had all been a game to Jenson, and I almost choked on the bile rising in my throat at how things had gone so horribly wrong. God, had I really been that desperate to fall into bed with any guy who gave me attention?
Damn it, I was thirty years old. I should know better by now.