GENRE: Gay Romance
LENGTH: 3,668 words
Blake believes in love at first sight; Stanley isn’t so sure. Their lifelong romance begins with a random meeting in a bar and ends in happily ever after.
As the years pass, Stanley’s struggling literary career takes off, and Blake finds fulfillment as a counselor at a local community college. When the AIDS epidemic strikes their small town in the 1980s, their resolve and relationship are tested. The only way to survive the crisis is to draw strength in the love they share.
Later, as they enter their senior years, they must deal with frightening new issues of infirmity and disability. Yet through it all, the two men share a deep, emotional bond that survives and strengthens their resolve to tackle any and all challenges head on. Together.
“I thought you’d be long gone by now.”
“It wasn’t the best it could be. Last night. I mean I wasn’t the best --”
“It was great. Had the best sleep I’ve had in years.”
“Thanks, I deserve that.”
“I mean it. I was exhausted and waking up next to you is…well, the best that’s happened to me in a very long while. I mean it.”
“Mmm.” Blake put down the spatula to rush over and peck Stan on the cheek. “Don’t be silly. I’m not one of those guys who has to have sex on the first date.”
“That was a date?”
“Yep. Besides, I’m thirty-four, for Christ’s sake. I’ve outgrown all of that stuff…mostly. Trust me.”
Blake’s hand went south and he squeezed Stan’s crotch, then he drifted back to the stove. “Let’s see. We have eggs. Hope you like them scrambled.”
Stan nodded and headed for the fresh pot of coffee. He poured out two cups.
“No bacon, but I found some tomatoes almost on the way out and fried those up, and also a potato from the pantry that’s seen better days but works fine for a scramble. Hungry?”
“Good. Because after we eat, we’re going to have a nice talk. I have a lot to say.”
“After one night together?”
“You know what they say about falling in love at first sight.” Blake hummed as he dished up their breakfast and set out the plates on the small dinette set.
“Are you always this damn cheery in the morning?”
“Yep, it’s a family trait. We’re all like this.”
“Mmm. I hail from a rather large tribe. You’ll meet them. You won’t like them but you’ll meet them.”
“Wait a minute. You just said love at first sight.”
“I did,” Blake said.
“But how is that possible?”
“Another thing you’ll have to trust me on.”
“What if I say no?”
“You won’t.” Blake hesitated, then walked over to Stan and pulled him into a warm embrace, followed by a long lingering kiss. “We’ve got a lot of exploring to do, Stanley.”
“Not funny. I’ve heard that all my life. Why I shortened it to Stan.”
Blake laughed. He kissed the back of Stan’s neck, then slid his tongue upward until he reached Stan’s ear lobe. “Yummy.”
“What was that for?”
“Just testing,” Blake said. “Wanted to make sure I remembered everything correctly.”
“Did you? Remember everything correctly?”
“And then some.” Blake kissed him again. And then again, longer and deeper. “I do love you. Who wouldn’t?”
“About ninety percent of this entire town.” Stan drew in a breath and, trembling, let it out. S-l-o-w-l-y. “It’s not possible after only one night. We didn’t even have --”
“Mmm. But we will. And soon.”
“We’d better stop. This could --”
“It definitely could.”
“Should we let it? The food will get cold. You went to so much trouble and --”
“We should,” Blake said.
“Yes.” Stan brought his arms around Blake’s waist. Tight. Tighter. He felt that same spark flicker and glow inside him, and there was no stopping the fire it promised. “Most definitely we should.”