John Brennon is at the end of his rope. His career is on the rocks, and his love life has died along with his unborn child. He finds small comfort with other mourners on a cold stone bench in a tiny cemetery where the overgrown gardens and tangled bushes echo his mood.
Kyle has decided it's time to bury his own past, and do some spring cleaning in his life, and he's going to start with the lonely, disheveled man occupying space in his graveyard. One small misunderstanding might just nip their chances in the bud, however, when John's ex girlfriend interrupts their first date.
“You want to be careful. Lilacs bloom in the spring, but they set their buds now,” Kyle explained. “So you have to find the buds and not cut them off, or you’ll have no flowers when the snow goes.”
“Then wouldn’t this be easier to do in the spring?”
A little nod and a smile greeted that. “It would be.” The branch Kyle was trimming danced up as he released it and slowly pivoted. “But I didn’t want to wait that long for the excuse to spend more time with you.”
John opened his mouth, but found nothing to say. He closed it again with a bit of a frown.
Kyle shuffled closer to him. “Another line, I know.” That little one-shouldered shrug was beginning to grow on John. It seemed to fit well with the flop of hair that kept falling over Kyle’s left eye. “Can’t seem to help myself.”
Itching to reach up and brush the hair aside, John shifted his feet and stuffed the gloves into his coat pocket. He fiddled with the lock on the snips and finally glanced up. “Maybe, next Wednesday, instead of sitting here on a cold bench, I could help you,” he waved vaguely around the grounds, “with whatever you do.”
“You’d have to wear more sensible shoes.”
John lifted one foot slightly, and as if just to prove Kyle’s point, his smooth leather sole skidded against loose, dry leaves. The other foot slipped out from under him. He flailed.
One minute he was standing awkwardly scrambling for something to say, the next he was scrambling not to fall on his ass. Kyle nabbed him out of the air, strong arms folding around his waist to hold him up. His fumble for words disintegrated as the taller man’s dark eyes caught and claimed the last bits of his reason.
“I...uh. Could do sens—” Kyle’s mouth descended, full lips pressing against John’s partly open mouth. Finally, something he could deal with. Kissing he knew, and he did, parting his lips more and accepting Kyle’s silent invitation.
The kiss shattered him. If he’d thought Kyle’s good looks and impossibly deep, brown eyes had been disorienting, his kiss, his tongue sliding over John’s lips, and the tiny vibration of a moan the gardener let escape, were devastating. He was breathing hard by the time Kyle backed off. His fist, clenched around a bit of down-filled parka, took concentrated effort to unfasten.
“I had to check.” Kyle touched his cheek, lips curving, eyes softening under the hank of hair. “Wasn’t sure you weren’t just being polite. Humouring me.”
His breath warmed the tip of John’s nose. He hadn’t loosened his hold much, either, and John feared the close proximity might make it obvious he had gone way past humouring. His interest was making his pants fairly uncomfortable.
John had always thought being a lawyer meant never being lost for words. Now, he found it damn hard to breathe, let alone speak. “I—I could have been. You might have gotten a face full of fist.”
“Okay. I was pretty sure I was right.”
A bit more of John’s mask crumbled; something light and airy managed to breeze its way through the cracks in his shell. If he wasn’t careful, this guy was going to break right on in and make him feel something again. And would that be so very horrible? “You were right,” he agreed. His pocket vibrated. The phone inside his jacket, pressed between their bodies, demanded his attention.