Devyn stretched and sighed. Some of his favorite moments were these stolen times where both he and Carl could sleep late and stay curled up together in bed. The rain made tapping sounds on the window. He leaned up on his elbow and snuggled closer to his lover.
A sound that filled Devyn with contentment. “Enjoying our lazy Sunday morning?” He turned to glance at the clock. “Well, lazy Sunday afternoon?” His drag queen persona, Rose, didn’t have an event. He’d deliberately kept the whole day free. It was, after all, an anniversary. Their first time together had been many moons ago today. It was something they celebrated every year. And it was the one time he didn’t let Rose take on work. Today would be spent with Carl, the man he couldn’t imagine his life without.
“Amazing how time flies when you’re either snoring or having sex.” Carl smiled and rolled toward Devyn.
“It is.” They lay in blissful silence for a few moments.
“So when do you embark on Rose’s next relationship tampering?” Carl didn’t sound nonchalant. He sounded worried.
He’d better be. Because the bitch Rose was going to succeed. “Soon. I’ve gotten two out of three relationships together.” It had worked out well with both sets. Rose couldn’t be more pleased. Rose had first gotten Neo and Phil to admit their long-ago one-night stand should be permanent. Then she’d secured a serious commitment for her buddies Tucker and Ally, who had been long-time friends with benefits.
Carl had bet Devyn that Rose couldn’t get three sets of relationships together when Rose had been offered a love-advice column in a local magazine, and Carl had doubts about Rose penning it.
“I know. But only three out of three gets you long hair. And marriage.” The way he said the last word was like vinegar on his tongue.
“I know that.” Devyn was well aware. There had been no two-out-of-three deal. It had always been about all or nothing. Getting three relationships together would mean Carl had to grow his hair long. And marry Devyn. If Rose failed, then Rose had to do a concert and drop the subject of marriage. What it meant for the column, they’d never established. Devyn hadn’t even thought about that. Regardless, he was going to prove to Carl that Rose could do this.
“Now you have both the heterosexual and homosexual angles to work out. And bring together. I noticed you haven’t started yet. Tucker and Ally have been together for over a week now.” Carl arched a brow.
Devyn bristled. “I’ve been waiting for the right time. And I know about the angles. I’ve been contemplating the right way to do this. It’s going to take finesse. I’ve had to lay some groundwork before I could start in earnest.”
“I’m sure you have.” Carl lowered his voice. “Devyn, I don’t know if I can go through with what I promised.”
“Long hair won’t be the death of you.” Devyn deliberately misunderstood because he couldn’t think about what Carl truly meant. Not right now. Not on their special day. Not on the day they celebrated being together in a committed relationship. Which was what marriage was.
“I don’t mean that. I mean the other thing.” Good old Carl couldn’t let Devyn ignore the problems. No, Carl rushed in headlong with an explanation and truth. That had always been his way. “I don’t know if I can do it.”
“You have to. We made a bet.” Devyn tried to keep his voice as innocent and naive as possible. All he could think was, why am I not good enough for Carl to make that commitment to? True, it was just a piece of paper. That wouldn’t even be legal in the state where they lived. Yet
. Maybe one day. But it was a sign of being together
. It would mean something to them. Or at least to Devyn. Maybe it didn’t to Carl. But that made him question what being together meant to Carl. Maybe their whole relationship didn’t mean as much to Carl as it did to Devyn.
And that was troubling.
“I know I did.” Carl rolled on his back. “I know I did.” He repeated the words, but whether to Devyn or to himself, Devyn wasn’t sure. More silence. “Are you going to start with the threesome soon?”
Devyn felt hollow inside. Even if he won, would he really win? He wasn’t positive anymore. “Yes. After all, I have to give an answer about the column soon. They’re waiting on me. I have another week to let them know.” The risk of this bet might do things to his relationship with Carl that he hadn’t anticipated. It had seemed such a simple thing when they’d started. Fuck the column. He’d deal with the damage when he’d won the bet like he did everything else.
But for Rose’s sake, he was going to win the bet. She deserved a chance at doing what she did best, telling people what to do.
That was the only thing he could guarantee right now.
* * * *
I’m an evil slut.
Josie stared at herself in the mirror of the antique dressing table she’d bought at an estate sale and refinished. All for twenty bucks and the cost of paint, stripper, fabric for the stool, and her labor, which had to say something about her character. She didn’t give off an air of evil. There were no warts or green skin. And she had a fabulous nose. She didn’t look any different than she had a month ago. Same brown eyes, dark hair. Hair that wouldn’t stay tamed. Same cheekbones. Same olive complexion. Big boobs. Same full lips.
Yet here she sat, falling for two separate guys.
A month ago she never would have imagined herself in this situation. A month ago she’d met Zach at Temples, a bar she frequented even though it had a reputation as a gay bar. Her friends liked it and thought it was “cool,” and she’d tagged along. He was supersite. A dreamboat. Resembled a bouncer. Short dark hair. Dark eyes and skin. Had been in the military. He appeared to be a dark version of the all-American guy. With him, she finally started to see the appeal of that. He had the sweetest smile. It melted her every time he flashed it her way, which wasn’t often. He was a little brooding but not over-the-top like Bruce Wayne from Batman.
They’d been sitting next to each other. She’d bought him a drink, and they’d exchanged numbers.
That same night, the hottest dancer in drag queen Rose Winter’s show had been leaving the same time she had.
Her friends had already gone home, as she’d been talking to Zach for quite a bit of the night.
When she’d tried to start her car, she’d heard nothing but click
sounds instead of an engine coming to life. She’d stood in front of her car with the hood up. There needed to be a red arrow showing the trouble when a car wouldn’t run. She had an inkling it was the battery.
Quinn had been the only one left, save for Rose and a couple of others, but he was the one who’d walked out of the bar the same time she had and had noticed her before he left.
He’d been nice and jump-started her car. Luckily he’d had battery cables and been willing to help out “a damsel in distress.” His words.
He had dimples. This drop-dead grin that slayed her every time she saw it, because it had a hint of wicked in it. It made things tingle she didn’t even know she had. He had long, sandy hair, and his body was lithe and strong. Tight muscles. Lightly tanned skin. He looked like Captain America but moved with a dancer’s grace and had an evil sense of humor. He’d had her rolling in gales of laughter as he’d fixed her car.
She’d been amazed when he’d
asked for her number. She’d assumed all the guys in Rose’s revue were gay. She’d been so surprised she hadn’t even thought until after the fact she and Zach
had exchanged numbers. She’d told herself there was no way both of them would call her.
Which would be a fine way to sort out which one she would see later. If neither of them called her back, she’d wonder what was wrong with her, but hopefully one of them would pick up the phone.
Only they both had. The next day. Zach had called in the morning, and Quinn had called late afternoon.
And demoness that she was, she’d accepted invitations from both of them for the next weekend.
In her defense, she’d told them both up front she was seeing someone else too. After all, one evening did not a commitment make. She hadn’t seen a problem then in having dates with two guys.
She’d figured she’d determine which one she liked best and continue going out with him
if the guy wanted to keep seeing her. Only it wasn’t working.
She liked them both.
For different reasons.
Zach was intense. He was like a keg of dynamite about to explode. He had smoldering good looks, and that description suited him. He smoldered.
Quinn was the opposite of intense. He was fun and humorous. He bounced around like a Ping-Pong ball in conversation. He kept her moving and laughing.
Zach was dark, and Quinn was light, and both of them suited her for different reasons. She enjoyed them both. For purposes she’d never imagined. They each complemented a side of her, and she enjoyed the way they fit together. It wasn’t right. She wasn’t supposed find herself with two guys. Only she had.
She waffled on choosing which one she liked better. Which one she wanted to be with. She dreamed about both of them. After each date, she’d think that guy was the one until she had a date with the other.
She couldn’t decide which one to call it off with. Couldn’t imagine her life without seeing both guys. They were too ingrained in her already. She’d think about Zach and about never seeing the glimmer in his eyes he gave her that made her want to go up in flames. Then she’d ponder Quinn and never hearing his off-color jokes. She’d think about his lips, which appeared so kissable even when they were saying something extremely outlandish. Or Zach’s arms that would never hold her.
She didn’t want to give either of them up. Which was hardly fair to them. How could she never see Zach again? Or Quinn? She’d miss them for an eternity.
She massaged her temples.
I can’t believe I’m in this situation. For so long, I couldn’t get a guy. Now I have two, and I like them both.
She could see herself with either of them, making a commitment. Going the long haul. But she kept telling herself, they weren’t like potato chips. She could only have one.
Life wasn’t fair.
Not to mention, she’d run into Rose the other day after a date with Quinn. Quinn had been going to work after their excursion, and they’d wound up at Temples.