Tory Cuthbert is the owner of Misty View Motel, and he’s mostly satisfied with his life. He rarely thinks about the time, fourteen years ago, when a boy he loved -- Wheeler Ridley -- left him behind. Maury Landrum, one of Tory’s employees, is a tempting morsel, but Tory can't seem to bring himself to take the next step, even though he knows Maury would be more than willing.
Then Wheeler turns up at the motel and doesn't even recognize Tory when he hits on him. After Wheeler’s repeated attempts to get into Tory’s pants, Tory reveals that they knew each other and what happened when they were kids. Wheeler remembers things differently, however, and Tory realizes he’s actually been wrong -- all this time.
When Maury abruptly resigns, Tory finally wakes up to what’s been right under his nose. And he has to get Maury back, no matter what.
I walked with Wheeler to his car and waited as he placed his bag in the trunk. After that, he came around to where I stood by the driver’s side door.
“I’m here, Ridley. What do you want?” I crossed my arms on my chest and stared past him at the beach.
“Look at me, Tory. Please?” he asked, and reluctantly, I did.
His eyes were filled with remorse. “I can be a bit of an ass, and self-centered, and clueless. I don’t say these things to redeem myself, but simply as fact. Unless someone slaps me on the back of the head, I’m always the last person to realize when I’ve done something dumb, or hurtful. What I said to you the other day was thoughtless and ... I apologize for the pain I caused you then, and so many years ago.”
“You flatter yourself that I care,” I snapped, still raw. I felt like such a fool.
“You do care, and that’s a good thing. It’s something I still have to learn, apparently. I know I’m asking a lot, but if you’d consider forgiving me, it would mean a great deal.” His self-deprecating smile made me thaw out, a little. Maybe. After all, this whole thing had been a disaster of my own making.
“I’ll think about it.” A lot. While running myself to death on the beach, probably.
“Thanks. That’s all I can ask. Shake on it?” He held out a hand, and after a few seconds, I shook it. “You’ve done well with your life, Tory, and maybe in time you and I could be friends. For real, this time.”
I stared at him quizzically. “What do you mean?”
He grinned “I’m opening a gym in town. It’ll be a franchise, the fifth like it in the country. I started the concept a few years ago, and it’s done well. One of the locals is looking to sell, and I made an offer. I’ll convert the place, and then, we’ll be neighbors!”
I shook my head in dismay. “No.”
“Yes,” he said with the most evil grin on his face.
I sighed and turned to walk away. “I wish you the best of luck, Ridley. I’m surprised to hear you run successful operations. From what I’ve seen, you really are pretty clueless.”
“But you’ll be there to give me advice when I need it, right?” he asked, and I could hear the smile in his voice. Incorrigible.
“Don’t push it, Wheeler.”
“You can’t stay mad at me forever.”
“I can sure try,” I replied, but I didn’t really mean it. I just needed to get over my stupidity.
“By the way, that guy in the office?” he called out.
I stopped and turned to face Wheeler from a few feet away. “What, Maury? You’re chasing another piece of ass already?” Why did that make me feel ... strange?
“He has it bad for you, man. That glare he aimed at me could kill at fifty paces.”
Huh? I knew Maury had a crush on me, but it wasn’t like that, was it? “What are you talking about?”
“And you call me clueless?”