3/09/2015

Story Orgy Presents: Like A Wolf Part 8 #storyorgy #mmromance #




Good morning all! Before we get into today's post, I have NEWS. Story Orgy is planning a new anthology for this fall. In order to do that, we need PROMPTS from you! Please email your suggestions to lee.brazil@ymail.com or leave them in the comments here. Prompts are due by March 15th- so we don't have a lot of time. What are we looking for? 
Three things: A super power, a crisis, and a random object. 

Got it? Put on your thinking caps and let the good times roll! 

And without further ado, here it is

Like A Wolf

A Little Red Riding Hood Story In Which the Wolf Must Choose Between Innocent Red, and the Seductively Skilled Hunter He’s Been Toying With For Years

Chapter Eight
Mar 9: "How am I going to get home?"

“You said you’d think about it. That didn’t look like thinking about it. It looked like you’d already made your choice.”
Hank raised a brow and continued to just study the elegant figure reclining against his truck. Hunter was dressed in urban chic style, with his distressed jeans, merino wool cardigan and pricey high tops. Looking at him made Hank appreciate Robbie's no-nonsense fashion sense. Not that he'd thought of it before, but really, Levi's and a tee, classic, fool proof style that didn't make Hank feel like he was under dressed all the time? He resisted running his hands over the knees of his second-day jeans, or checking the front of his tee for dirt or produce stains. He was working. Hunter was playing. Hank tightened his lips and continued to stare his ex-lover down.
The silence stretched between them. Seconds ticking away. Hank just stared until Hunter began to twitch. Never having been one to condone a silence, Hunter eventually obliged, providing the unasked for explanation for his presence. "You're the stubbornnest ass I've ever met. Did I ever tell you that?"
Hank remained resolute. It made him edgy having Hunter in such proximity to Red's restaurant. Which was ridiculous, as it was clearly a public street. He could cut the scene short, hurry Hunter on his way.
“Fine. I know I was supposed to call and we would meet and all that, but… I was bored.  I called a taxi and came down to see if I could catch you, for that lunch we talked about.” Hunter straightened, sunlight glinting off his blond hair and the dazzling white of his smile. “Saw your truck parked here, and ….” He waved a hand expansively, vaguely indicating the off street parking, the restaurant and shops. “I saw.”
“Yeah?” He smirked. “I don’t know what you think you saw--”
“I saw your little friend… and I saw the expression on your face. You’ve got it bad.”
Hank shook his head, but an involuntary grin flirted with his lips and he was conscious of heat rising in his cheeks. “I’ve only just met Red.” But it felt … not like he’d known him forever, but as though he’d been waiting for him forever? Like all the other men… not that there had been all that many-- didn’t count. The door jangled behind him, but his tongue was on a path of its own and wouldn’t be stopped. “We’re … getting acquainted. Not even dating. Nothing to see. I haven’t, as you say, made my choice.”
“Oh.” Red’s soft voice was inevitable.
“Red!” He whirled around. Of course it was him. Who else would it be when Hank was behaving stupidly? “I didn’t mean that the way it sounded.” Why did he seem to have a chronic case of foot in mouth disease when Red was around?
“Why not?” Red’s voice was hard and cold, and suddenly Hank felt like making a chilled soup for tonight’s dinner. “It’s the truth, isn’t it? We met a few times, had two and half dates… Oh, we aren’t calling them dates, are we? You know what? I don’t know about you, but I sure as hell don’t sleep with random people I’m not dating, so maybe we should have talked about this ahead of time, hm? But no matter. It’s all out in the open now, we can both make an informed decision about the situation.”
He seemed to swell, growing hard and stern before Hank’s eyes. “And I do believe I’ll chose not to keep getting acquainted with you.”
Hank’s jaw dropped and he stood in stunned silence as Red threw a Styrofoam container at his feet. His gaze followed the box, which burst open, spilling cookies onto the pavement. Chocolate chip, the traditional favorite.
Applause broke out. A single man clapping with a measured pace. Hank jerked his gaze from the spilled cookies to see that Red had departed and Hunter was clapping sardonically.
“Knock it off,” He growled. He wasn’t sure what had just happened, but he was left feeling like the biggest heel in the universe. Bending, he scooped the cookies back into the box. His watch chimed, followed by his phone chiming. Time to get back to the restaurant and start dinner prep. “I already ate lunch. You’re going to have to find your own.” He continued his original path to the vehicle’s driver’s seat.
“Wait! Where are you going?” Hunter grabbed Hank’s arm, and halted him.
With a swift jerk, Hank pulled free. “I’m going to the restaurant. It’s time to get dinner started.”
“But how will I get home?”
Arrested, Hank turned. “Please tell me you have a home to go to?” He narrowed his eyes at Hunter, who smirked in amusement.
“Planning on inviting your little friend over again? Afraid I’ll get in the way? Oh lighten up. Yes. I booked in at the Embassy Suites, one of those little apartment thingies with the kitchenette.” He gave Hank a mournful look. “A kitchenette.  You’re condemning me to either suffer my own cooking or eat out all the time.”
Hank laughed. “You can cook.”
“Not on the same caliber as you.” Hunter eyed him hopefully. “We’re still friends, right? Why can’t you cook for your friends?”
“I’ll cook for you whenever you want.” Hank smiled slyly. “All you have to do is come over to the restaurant and eat, like all my other friends do.”
It was Hunter’s turn to laugh. “Relegating me to just another friend, huh? Okay. Here’s the hotel number, and my room number. Give me a call, and we can hang out and talk, get caught up.” He raised both hands defensively. “Just a friendly thing, I swear.”
Hank couldn’t help but notice that Hunter hardly seemed devastated. “You’re accepting this pretty well.” The Hunter he knew was a determined man, one who didn’t let go of his goals and aspirations easily. It was a characteristic that had served him in good stead, as evidenced by his promotion to the home office.
“I’ve been doing some thinking, too.” Hunter grimaced slightly. “You don’t know how it is, Hank. You’ve never been beyond the boundaries of this town. When you’re out there…” He gestured expansively, “Far from home, at first everything is an adventure. New food, new people, new sights. But eventually the adventure fades and you just get tired of it. Everything back here becomes…” He paused, as though searching for words. “a sacred memory. Nothing is as good as the food you got at home, no bed compares to the one you slept in at home, the sun rises brighter at home, the moon shines more brilliantly, and the love you left behind.... It’s a the magic of distance.”
It was a relief to hear Hunter say it. Nevertheless, Hank had to hear it in plain English. “So, what you’re saying is…”
“I love you, but I’m not in love with you. I guess I had to come back home to see that. Now, that boy? He looked devastated. I’m guessing that whatever his grand speech was meant to do, it was a cover for something a lot deeper.”
“I know.” Hank ducked his head in guilt. “I know. Look, Hunter, Red… it’s complicated. And I really am running late now for tonight’s meal.”
“Just don’t let love slip you by, Hank because you’re hung up on the past. Not like I did.”
He was nearly at the restaurant before he realized that Hunter wasn’t referring to him as the lost love. It seemed that Hunter had stories to tell that might be just as complicated as the mess that was tearing Hank apart right now.
It wasn’t even Red’s apparent knack for appearing just when Hank was being at his most stupid.
No. What tore at him, what kept him on this strange up and down ride of wanting to see Red and wanting to avoid him like the plague, was the certainty that sat like a rock in his stomach that if he let him, Robert Redding could change his life in unforeseen ways.
And whatever Hank might say to Hunter, he preferred his change in small, well thought out, risk free doses. Like a vacation somewhere sunny where you came home in two weeks, or a restaurant where you got to cook whatever you wanted.
He wasn’t ready to call it love. And that was a good thing, since whatever it was Red felt it apparently wasn’t strong enough to put up with a few obstacles.
“Which is the way you wanted it, anyway, right?” He asked the windshield. You can’t seriously be blaming Red for not liking what he heard?
He should have known I didn’t mean it. “I told him I didn’t mean it.”
The debate continued, all the way to the restaurant. He reached for his phone several times to call Red and ask for a chance to explain… But he never made the call.
He’d hurt Red’s feelings, but it hadn’t been a death blow. At this point, Red would recover, find someone else to lavish with love and attention and chocolate chip cookies.
Hank didn’t need it. He was used to being alone, to losing himself in his food creations and his work. Whatever flaw it was in him that made him so hard to love… that sent Hunter flying off to foreign climes and stranger’s beds, he was used to it.
But that didn’t mean he needed to court pain by encouraging Red to hang around.
Red would get over him, he’d get over Red, and change… well, change was great for a menu, but not so great for a way of life. Stability. That’s what Hank needed, and he’d had his own brand of it carved out for a while now.
***
Robert watched the two gorgeous men chatting by Hank’s truck. His cheeks burned with humiliation, and his brain buzzed with things he should have said, wished he’d said, instead of what utter garbage he’d spewed. Why couldn’t he ever think of the right words when he was around Hank?
He kept seeing the look on Hank’s face when Hank realized Robert had heard what he’d said. He hadn’t meant it… that much had been clear from his pained expression. But Robert had to admit that it wasn’t the first time that Hank had denied them having any sort of relationship.
It was a huge contradiction with the way he acted, cooking those decadently sexy meals, claiming that Robert inspired them, the way he made love…
You don’t know. He may be like that with everyone. That may be part of his technique. For all you know he pulls out the same tired lines every three weeks with a new guy.
“He’s not like that.” He spoke aloud, “He’s not a liar.” Just confused. “And too confusing for you to deal with.”
But oh how he wanted to deal with Hank… If only Hank were willing to deal.
The debate… between trying again or walking away… continued throughout the afternoon. Finally, Bella and the night shift manager had had enough and forced him out. At loose ends, unwilling to venture back to the gym in search of Saul, and afraid of turning up at Hank’s door, Robert stopped by a grocery store for a couple of pints of Ben and Jerry’s and then drove with single minded intensity to his grandmother’s apartment in the retirement community.
She answered his knock dressed in a pink housecoat, furry slippers and a sparkly feathered boa. “Robbie! Did we have plans?”
He leaned forward and brushed a kiss onto her papery skin. “Hi Grandmere. I came because it’s all your fault.”
“My fault?” She stepped back, letting him pass into the small apartment. “What’s my fault?”
“Hank and I broke up. Well, not really, because to hear him tell it, we weren’t ever together. But anyway, since I only went after him because you told me… hell, practically dared me to. Well, he doesn’t want me, so it's time for a pity party.”
“My fault?” Grandmere glared at him. “I told you to have coffee with him. Beyond that, it’s on you.”
“I know.” He raided the plastic shopping bag. “I brought ice cream. Haagen Daz.”
“What kind?”
“What?” Laughter bubbled up, some store of happiness he hadn’t been aware of holding inside erupted. “Are you going to kick me out if I got the wrong kind?”
Grandmere eyed him.
Robbie opened the bag. “Um… green tea and Applewood smoked caramel almond?”
Sprightly blue eyes blinked in astonishment. “You’re making that up. No one made such a thing.”
Robbie held up one of the cartons. “I kid you not.”

“I ought to throw you out. But I won’t. Come on, Robbie. Green tea ice cream is an adventure I never expected. I can hardly challenge you to live life to its fullest, and then turn my nose up at … imaginative ice cream flavors, can I?”

TO BE CONTINUED 

If you enjoyed my post, click on over to the rest of the Orgiasts and read more! 

1 comment:

  1. Dammit! They were so close, and then that pesky Hunter had to show up again!! Ugh! At least it brought grandmere back into the story a bit. She's a right sassy one, I like her. Now get Hank and Red back together, dammit!

    ReplyDelete

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