The purest form of freedom in the world is found when lovers can tell each other they are meant to be together.
Keith looked down on the terrain outside his apartment window from where he sat on the ledge. It felt like he was hanging over the world below. And it was exhilarating—scary and exciting at the same time. Pressing a palm against the brick ledge on either side of him, he bent as far as he could and mentally calculated the height from where he sat to the ground below. His apartment was on the second floor. That meant if he fell, he figured the worst that could happen would be a broken limb. Or he could break his neck. Either way, he realized belatedly, what he was doing was stupid, and he didn’t know why he was acting this way.
The thought of falling and breaking something triggered his self-protective instinct. It occurred to him that not only was he being imprudent, but the ledge he was on was God-knew-how-old and probably had weakened through the decades. Had it even been built up to code? Sure, it was just about twenty feet from there to the ground, but if the bricks crumbled, wouldn’t that make things even worse? Son of a bitch. He should have thought this out more carefully before going out there in the first place. Now look at him—fear had him stuck. And God damn it, it was freezing.
He watched his breath freeze in the air as he let out a sigh, shivering like crazy, and his feet had begun to numb. At least it wasn’t snowing. That should give him more time. Right? He looked down the street once more, relieved when he saw no one around who would witness his stupidity. Although that also made it clear that should he fall, he would be on his own.
When his toes started to throb, he looked down at them. He doubted he would get frostbite, since it was too warm for that. But they felt numb and were aching. He leaned back against the wall behind him. True, he could always crawl back into his apartment, but he didn’t want to stay in the overly warm room. His radiator had started acting up last week, and now it was too late to call the repairman. He’d returned from work only to enter a steaming apartment. When he’d gone to check the temperature, it read seventy-five degrees. He’d tried to fix the radiator, but it didn’t respond to his hammer.
He admitted the reason he was in such a slump this day of all days was that he didn’t have a Valentine’s date. Going out on the ledge had been a great idea when he’d first thought it, but now he knew he’d been too miserable to think things out properly. He knew who he’d wanted to go out with tonight, but things had caught up on him at work, and he’d not had the time or gotten the nerve to approach him. Keith let out a disparaging laugh. There he was, twenty-seven years old and still afraid to tell the man of his dreams that he’d been in love with him for over a year. Keith had fantasized about taking him in his arms and convincing him that they belonged together.
Keith started at the unexpected sound and looked down. Fuck, it was him.
Cole Donohue, the very man who occupied his dreams day and night, stood looking up at him. There he was, standing on the ground, and even though he was more than twenty feet below him, it was still close enough. Keith could feel the blood rush to his cock. Although he knew Cole couldn’t see his erection, he still squeezed his thighs together, just in case. Of course, the squeezing only managed to give his hard-on a helping hand, and his cock tightened even more. The tightness in his crotch made him shift on his seat. A wave of vertigo hit him, and he stilled and closed his eyes.
“I’m not going to ask why you’re sitting up there, but I don’t think it’s safe, buddy.”
Keith thought about telling Cole that he was sitting out here to take a breath of fresh air, which he had, in fact. Or he could lie and say something else entirely, but he couldn’t come up with a good story. That last part was a problem. It shouldn’t be, but it was. The more he thought about it, the more the idea seemed appealing. Lost in thought, he shifted in his seat and froze at a crumbling sound and a slight dip on his seat. He held his breath and opened his eyes to look down at Cole. He trembled, but it was not from the cold wind.
“I think something moved.” Keith dug his hands into the bricks, which crumbled like fine sand.
“What moved? What are you talking about?” Cole took a few steps back, craning his neck up at him.
Keith risked leaning over and immediately drew back when he heard a low groan from the ledge. Squinting, he peered toward the sound. “I think the ledge is loose. There’s a crack between it and the wall.”
“How big is it?”
“Not too big, just a few inches long. But I can see light shining through it from inside my apartment.”
“All right, stay still and keep cool.” Although Cole’s voice sounded calm enough, Keith didn’t miss the way he’d straightened his shoulders as he stared up at him. Cole shifted on his feet and ran a hand down his face. The nervous gesture was not lost on Keith, and he tightened his grip on the bricks. He couldn’t help flinching when more of the sandy material fell through his fingers.