3/02/2015

Story Orgy Presents: Like A Wolf pt. 7 #mmromance #storyorgy #prompt




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 Seven
Mar 2: It was a false alarm.

“So where are you?” Robert glared around the nearly empty parking lot in the pre-dawn darkness. Even this early, before the sun had quite made its way over the tree line and the sky was shot with gunmetal and orange, he could tell it was going to be another gorgeous, warm day. 
“Uh… Sorry, Robbie. I’m--” Saul seemed a bit frantic when he answered the phone. “Having a bit of trouble.”
Morning sounds...the ticking of the engine, the hushed voices of the trees, and the occasional chirp or twitter of a bird filled the car, seeping in through the open window. Robert felt it all pressing in on him, along with the memory of how excited- stupidly excited, naively excited- he’d been driving over to Hank’s place the night before. He pushed open the door and bolted from the car and the memory of his behavior. Starry-eyed idiot that he’d been.
“Are you having car trouble?” The coffee he’d been sipping had long since gone cold, and the pit of his stomach was once more tied up in knots. Hank Wolf. The reason for his dawn appearance at the gym wasn’t far from his mind. Forget him. He’s already forgotten you. He glanced around again. Still no sign of Saul’s beater, and no sign of Saul. Just his luck, Saul’s little VW had probably finally decided to call it quits for good on some little side street. “Did Bess break down again? Do you need me to come get you?”
“No! Don’t come over. I’m… er. I’m a little tied up at the moment.” His friend’s voice rose in a squeak. 
Clearly the trouble Saul was having was to his liking. Sighing heavily, Robert sank onto the hood of his car, grimacing as it shifted under his weight. “You promised you’d be here to tell me about these machines.” The whiny note in his voice didn’t escape his notice, but he figured he deserved a few hours of whining over his lost maybe-love before he sucked it up and got on with his life.  
“I know.” Somehow Saul managed to sound both sympathetic and impatient. Having a friend who was a personal trainer had seemed a godsend when he’d wanted a distraction. 
The elastic waistband of Robert’s unaccustomed nylon shorts dung into his skin uncomfortably. He glanced morosely at the gym. Even this early he could see people inside… moving about the business of getting fit. Robert squeezed the soft flesh on his side with his free hand. Flabby. He’d never been one for a hard body… workouts were boring and gym class… He shuddered. “I don’t know anything about this. I was counting on you, Saul.”
“It’s not….” Saul stopped on a gasp. “Difficult. There should be someone at the desk. Tell them I said you should get started by warming up on a stationary bike. I’ll be there in a half hour.” Voices murmured in the background. Saul choked, his breath loud and harsh in Robert’s ear. “Forty-five… minutes.”
“Oh my god. You… Forget it. Take your time Saul. You can teach me about weights and cardio what-nots tomorrow.” He closed his phone without waiting for Saul to say good-bye. Straightening from the hood of the car, he eyed the gym with disfavor. The absolute last thing he wanted to do after a sleepless night in which he was haunted at various turns by memories of Hank’s lovemaking and the humiliating encounter with Hank’s… ex-boyfriend -  was walk into a gym full of physically fit specimens who would remind him of the handsome, blonde, smiling, suave everything-Robert-Redding-wasn’t man who’d calmly entered Hank’s house, calling out  “Hi, honey I’m home” in the absolute worst Desi Arnaz impression Robert had ever heard. 
The building in front of him epitomized everything he’d ever hated about gym as a kid. He was about to go in there and strip down to his workout clothes. Everyone in the room would see the flab of his stomach, the softness he’d never outgrown. 
Baby fat his parents had called it. 
Well, he was long past being a baby, and if he ever hoped to measure up to Hunter Grym, the fabulously beautiful ex… Well, not that he could do that. “Fuck this.” He took a determined step toward the door, then whirled around and dove for his car. “Fuck this. Measure up?”
He pulled open his car door and slid into the seat. “I’m happy the way I am. I don’t need to lose weight or tighten up for any man.” But he didn’t put the key in the ignition, and he couldn’t look away from the scene before him. 
“God damn it.” He jumped out and then slammed the door behind him. “I’m going to do a half hour on the exercise bike, but just because I want to. Not for him. Since I’m here and awake.” And you have nowhere else to go.
Inside the gym, a cute but athletic man stood at a counter with a clipboard. Exactly the sort of man Robert usually gave a wide birth, maybe unfairly, but nevertheless. He didn’t need a judgmental gym bunny making him feel bad about his physique. He managed that well enough on his own. 
Girding his loins, and maybe… just maybe sucking in his stomach a tiny bit, Robert approached, trying to convey confidence. “Hi. Saul Rosenthal sent me. I'm Robert Redding. I’d like to do a half hour on one of the exercise bikes this morning.”
The blond looked up quickly, smiling genuinely. “Welcome! Saul’s usually here by now himself. I'm going to need you to fill out some paperwork and sign a waiver.”
“A waiver?” He accepted the clipboard and pen the man handed him, reluctantly. “What am I waiving?”
“Oh… nothing important. Just verifying that you understand you work out at your own risk and that you won’t be able to sue us if you drop a weight on your foot or something.” Delicate lashes fluttered and rosy lips stretched in an entrancing smile. “Emergency contact information… the usual.”
Blinking rapidly, Robert glanced down at the papers. “Do you get a lot of accidents?” His doubts were multiplying. 
“Oh no… Why we’ve been accident free for seventy-seven days now, and that one hardly counted.” 
“Um…” The farmers’ market was looking like a better deal every minute. “I just wanted to use an exercise bike for a bit.” 
“Sorry sweetie. Those are the rules. I’d lose my job if I let you in there,” he jerked his head in the direction of the equipment room, “without filling that out.”
“Walking is good exercise, right?” He could walk the farmer’s market without filling out any papers… and if he happened to bump into Hank Wolf while he was there, well… Well then, he’d probably compound his humiliation of the night before by acting like a blithering idiot. “You got a pen?”
***
An artisan cheese maker’s blue eyes reminded Hank of Red. He ended up buying more cheese than he could use- with visions of fondues and gratins and the sexy, sensual sounds of Red moaning in appreciation as his eyes closed and he chewed Hank’s culinary creations. 
Pork and duck bacon, crisp green apples, and golden raisins joined the cheeses in the back of his truck, and Hank leaned against it, watching the sun climb higher in the sky. 
His shopping was done. He was less than a mile from Red’s diner… and it was early yet. Hunter wouldn’t be expecting him to call for another hour or more. 
There was time for him to stop by and see Red… to explain that he wasn’t really as big an asshole as he’d seemed the night before. “And what would that accomplish?” He asked the cheese laden truck. “A second date? Another meal?” A chance to get Red out of his clothes and back in Hank’s bed again? Provided Hunter found another place to stay that was. 
God damn it. 
He slammed the tailgate with more force than necessary and climbed into the cab of the truck without acknowledging to himself that he was going to the diner. The drive was fast, traffic and lights cooperating in a kind of synergy of fate that had him through the door of the diner in less than five minutes. 
Once again he sat at the counter, and this time a sylph-like waif of a girl with spiky black hair and a silver lip ring was working. “Hi, I’m Bella. I'll be your waitress. Can I get you a drink while you look over the menu?”
His glance flicked to the name tag, remembering his previous waitress and her assertion that Robert insisted on them. “Thanks Bella. Is Red in?”
She stared at him blankly. 
“Robert?” 
“Oh yeah. He’s in back scrubbing down the walk-in and getting in everyone's way. You want to see him? Who should I say is here?”
“You have to tell him a name?” He debated making something up, but what was the point? “I’m Hank.”
“What are you doing here?” Before the waitress could walk off, Red appeared in the swinging doors, his cheeks red, a bleach scented rag in one hand. The pretty, plump lips he’d kissed the night before were narrowed into a tight, angry line. 
“I was at the farmer’s market, and I thought I’d stop by and see about some lunch.” He flinched at the way Red’s eyes narrowed, the clenching of his jaw. 
“I’m not cooking for you.” Red ground out, lips barely moving. “You can order off the menu like everyone else.”
“Fair enough,” Hank nodded, striving to keep his voice soothing. “Can we talk?”
“I'm working.” He didn’t walk away though, and Hank took that as an encouraging sign. “And I have plans for this evening.”
“Can you just let the walk-in sit for a minute and come outside with me? We can walk in the sun and… Let me apologize for last night?” When did he decide he was going to apologize?
“Is that what brings you here? Well there’s no need to apologize. We had a nice meal, a little fun. What’s to apologize for?”
The blas√© attitude would have pissed Hank off, if he hadn’t known for a fact that it was faker than the waitress’s hair color. “Then why are you angry?” For some reason, Red’s anger settled the emotions Hank had been wrestling with all morning. “I didn’t plan to do this in front of everyone, but if that’s the way you want it, I’m game. I don’t mind. I’m sorry that Hunter showed up like that in the middle of the night. He doesn’t live with me, and we haven’t been together in….” He paused to calculate. “Damn near a year. We broke up… I broke up with him, I should say.”
“He named your garden gnome.” Red pouted at him, and Hank felt lighter.
“Well, yeah. But there was a lot of beer involved and Octoberfest…” He smiled coaxingly. “I’ve been walking the farmer’s market all morning. How about making me something to eat?”
“How about you get today’s special?” Red nodded at the whiteboard. “After all, you inspired it.”
Hank’s gaze followed the nod. Creamy mushroom and onion soup, beet and goat cheese grilled cheese. Dark, earthy and interesting. “I’ll do it. Are you selling a lot of them?”
Shrugging, Red blushed slightly. “Not as many as we are of the tomato bisque with grilled American croutons. It’s a new thing. Not all of my customer base is adventurous.”
He backed through the door, and Hank watched him go, conscious of a smile twitching at his lips. His phone vibrated in his pocket, and he pulled it out, setting it on the counter in front of him. The call was from the restaurant, so he sent them a quick text with instructions for how to get started preparing for the evening’s meal. 
“So… you’re Hank, huh?” 
Bella was back, eyeing him curiously as she fussed unnecessarily with a place setting for him. 
“I am. Henry Wolf, actually, and according to my mother, but my father and I settled on Hank long ago.” What the ever-loving fuck? He was babbling. Hank Wolf… never babbled. He spoke with intent and purpose. His restaurant staff called him curt. “And you’re Bella.” It just didn’t bear examination. Though since his mind was still on the fact that Red had created a daily special inspired by him… and that he was absurdly flattered by that… 
“Yes. You know Robert from somewhere?”
“Oh Red and I are good friends.” 
“Did he really say that he made this lunch special up just for you?” She tilted her head curiously to the side, and left off playing with the silverware and the linen place mat to fidget with the salt and pepper and napkin holders. 
“That’s what I heard him say.” Pleasure in the fact still hummed through his being, making him warm and tingly and … damn. Hank grabbed his phone and started keying in the ideas as fast as he could in One Note. 
“It’s just that usually his recipes are old-fashioned, traditional things that he talks about his mom and grandmere making when he was a boy.”
Hank snorted softly. “He’s still a boy. Barely twenty-five.” His fingers flew on the tiny virtual keyboard. There. Got it. The perfect dessert for tonight’s menu. He set the phone down and turned back to Bella. “I’ve met his grandmere. She’s quite an adventurous lady.”
“I’m twenty-nine. And yes, she is.” 
The plate Red set before him was beautiful. The mushroom soup wasn’t grey and murky like many, but a delightful golden brown, topped with thin crispy mushrooms, a sprig of parsley, and a dollop of pale cream with a faint green cast. “Tell me about it?” He asked, unable to take his eyes from the plate. He pulled it closer, inhaling the rich aroma, mushroom and beef, and something else. 
“It’s a green cream- flavored with beet greens. It’s really subtle.” Red sounded flustered now. He probably wasn’t used to people demanding that he talk about the food he made. “And um… mushroom soup, with beef stock and--”
“It looks and smells amazing.” Hank cut him off, scooping up a spoonful of soup and sipping a bite. The deep, complex flavors burst in his mouth, garlic and funky mushroom, sweet and savory, a hint of acid. “And tastes amazing as well.” He ate a few more bites under Red’s beaming gaze. “You keep cooking like this, and Guy Fieri will be knocking on your door before you know it.”
“I’m not cooking to impress Guy Fieri. I just want to feed people.”
The flavor of the food became secondary to the emotion behind that statement, and Hank remembered the panic he’d felt the night before…. the impression that Red was looking for more than he was capable of giving. “Only now, he realized that that wasn’t it at all. 
He had a capacity to love. He’d loved Hunter after all. And therein lay the crux of the problem. What if he did… love Red? Then Red, like Hunter, moved on? 
“Hank? Are you okay?”
“Fine.” He pushed the bowl away. “This is great, but I’ve got to get back to the restaurant.” It was running. He knew it… Just as long as Red didn’t, then it was all good.




TO BE CONTINUED 

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

2 comments:

  1. Okay, better. The arrival was an ex, so that's good. And you got them talking again. Loved the scene at the gym. Poor Red ... Hank's got him so turned around! More please!

    ReplyDelete

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To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting. ~e.e. cummings, 1955